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网上牧师杂志–中文版(简体), SCh Ed, Issue 44 2021 年 夏季

A ministry of…

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

I. 加强讲解式讲道:传讲新约福音,第三部分,比喻

比喻并非是福音独有的。比如拿单,用了一个比喻警示大卫关于他的罪(撒下12:1-10)。以赛亚用了一个比喻控告以色列家(赛5:1-7.其中1-6节为比喻,7节为应用)。 然而,为了本文的目的,我将把比喻作为“福音”的一个下属类型来处理。

1..比喻的定义和结构。比喻是一种短篇故事,里面的日常经历和人物代表了某些道德或属灵的真理。耶稣经常用比喻来说明问题。通常,比喻以描述某一特定情况下的事件或人物开始,以直接应用或解释故事结束,使听者认识到故事与他们的生活有关。这就是为什么你经常会看到对耶稣比喻的强烈负面反应,因为这些比喻触到了听众的良心。

2.比喻的文学形式。简单来说,比喻是修辞的一种形式。让我做以下的区分…

(1) “真正的”比喻。我所说的“真正的”比喻是指那些符合我上面所给出的结构和定义的比喻。“真正的”比喻的例子:(1)好撒玛利亚人(路1:25-37);(2)失羊、失钱和浪子(路15:1-32);(3)大宴席(路14:15-24);(4)在葡萄园做工(太2:1-16);(5)财主和拉撒路(路16:19-31);(6)十个童女(太25:1-13).

(2)明喻。一些比喻采用扩展的明喻的形式,其中主体与被比较的事物是有区别的,通过使用“像”或者“如同”这样的比较使其明确——“天国就像…”(太13:44-46).比喻中明喻的例子有:(1)面酵(太13:33);(2)撒种(太13:1-23);芥菜种(太13:31-32)。

(3) 隐喻。有些比喻采用扩展的隐喻。与明喻不同的是, 隐喻的主体与被比较物之间的比较是隐含的、分不开的。例如“你们是世上的盐…你们是世上的光”(太5:13-14)。虽然可以说这些陈述只是隐喻(这也是真的),但从他们所处的上下文来说,我认为有些隐喻从结构和目的来说有比喻的特点。

3..比喻的目的。虽然比喻的形式和内容简单明了,但是关于它们的意义有很多争论。确实,有些比喻难以理解,比如不义管家的比喻(路16:1-13)。当我们看到这样一个故事,会问:“耶稣到底说的是什么意思?难道他真的要我们不诚实吗?或者这个故事不仅仅是表面所看到的?”。就连门徒们也会疑问耶稣一些比喻的意义(可4:10;‘路8:9’)。

不幸的是,耶稣对比喻意义的解释本身就是一个难以理解的陈述:“神国的奥秘只叫你知道;若是外人,凡事就用比,叫他看是看,却不得;听是听,却不明白。恐怕他转过来,就得赦免”(可4:11-12;引用6:9-10.虽然这句话并不一定意味着这是耶稣所有比喻的目的,但是它确实解释了为什么耶稣用一些比喻来讲解天国的神圣奥秘,这些神圣的奥秘对于那些有神的生命的人是敞开的,向顽固抵挡真理的人是隐藏的。

或许耶稣的解释最好从经文的背景来理解。他的事工有两方面完全相反的效果。正如使徒保罗说的,对有些人来说,耶稣在比喻中传递的信息是“活的香气叫人活”,但是对另外一些人就是“死的香气叫人死”(哥后2:14-16).或者,像使徒彼得说的,对于“你相信的人”,耶稣是“匠人所弃的石成了房角的头块,但是对其他人,他是脚的石,跌人的磐石”(彼前2:7-8。换句话说,耶稣的比喻迫使人选择立场。你不是支持他就是反对他。这显然是很多比喻的效果—它们将人区分开来,并显明人的心迹。就像Moises Silva所说的,“比喻…对那些选择反对主的人来说,成为审判的工具。因此,‘有的,还要给他;没有的,连他所有的也要夺去’(可4:25)” (Silva, An Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics, 111)。

因此,比喻是为了区分那些听过耶稣的人—一方面,向拒绝他的人,隐藏了真理,另一方面,向那些对他的话积极回应的人,显明了真理。对于那些积极回应他的话的人,耶稣的比较彰显了神,他的真理和他对自己百姓的心意。对于那些拒接耶稣和他的话的人,比喻被耶稣用作审判以及向他们隐藏真理的工具(比如太 13:10-15; 可 4:11-12; 路 8:9-10)。就像Henry Virkler说的,“同样的比喻使忠诚的信徒明白真理,但对那些硬着心反对真理的人却毫无意义” (Virkler, Hermeneutics, 165)。哥前2章也教导了同样的道理,重生的人明白属灵的真理,而未重生的人不能明白真理。不同的是,一个有属灵的看见,而另一个是属灵瞎眼的。因此,比喻有两个目的或者焦点—一个对相信的人,第二个是对不相信的人。

比喻的目的是两方面的:(1)教导听者关于属灵的真理,比如祷告、奉献等(如可13:10-12;可4:11),和(2)就不当、罪恶或虚伪的生活向他们提出质疑(如路7:36-50)。一般来说,比喻的目的是向听的人显明他们的内心和品性—他们是谁/怎样的人。

4. 比喻的本质。比喻是普通人能够轻易理解的、能从中找到认同并能从中学习的、与日常生活相关的简单有趣的故事。可能正是因为比喻的这些特点,耶稣在他的教导中大量使用比喻。

因此,比喻揭示、澄清、强调属灵的真理并将其应用于心灵、良心。比喻的性质使它们能够在人们的脑海和良心上留下深刻的印象,远比仅仅陈述观点更有影响、更有效、更持久—比如不懈的寡妇和不义的官(路18:1-8),或者法利赛人和税吏的祷告(路18:9-14)。

因此,比喻的本质是真实的简短故事,将相似的情况、人和事件与另外一个情况、人或事件比较,从而解释、阐明和教导一个不熟悉或者不被知道但却很重要的属灵真理。本质上说,比喻是间接的,需要听者做出回应。

5.理解和解释比喻。比喻就是信息。讲比喻是为了抓住或引起听众注意,让他们简单了解自己的行为或者让他们对耶稣的事工做出某种回应。正是这个特点,使得解释比喻很困难,因为就像解释一个玩笑—如果你必须解释它,它就不再有趣和直观。就像笑话的直接感染力一样,比喻的听众也会立即与他们所明白的点产生共鸣。

由于我们与比喻的时间、文化和语言相距甚远,我们可能无法立即明白这一点,因此它们对我们的作用与对原听者的作用不同。然而通过对比喻进行解释,我们有可能明白当时听众所理解的。

.一般来说,对故事解释和应用会出现在故事结尾,与故事本身区分开来。比如路7:40-42,三个主要人物是:债主和两个欠债的。听众立即会明白:(1)神就像这个债主;(2)妓女和西门就像两个欠债的。这个比喻是一个审判,呼吁西门悔改。这个比喻的力量在于西门不可能错过要点。需要注意的是,涉及到的人物本身并不构成比喻。他们只是为了把听者吸引到故事中,使听者能从中找到认同。这个故事的重点在于有意识的回应。在这个例子中,是对西门和他朋友的审判,对这个女人的接纳和饶恕。

请记住,在某种程度上,耶稣的所有比喻都是耶稣选择用来宣讲天国的方式。因此,我们必须非常熟悉耶稣事工中天国的意义。

6.研究和解释比喻的准则。当这些比喻第一次被说出来的时候,很少需要解释,因为它们的意思对听众来说是直观的。但由于我们当时不在现场,而且它们只有书面形式,我们缺乏对原始听众所拥有的一些相关点的直接理解。然而,通过解经过程,我们可以高度准确地发现它们的点。我们需要做的是把那个点应用到我们的背景下(如马太——18:10-14;20:1-16)。你可以通过在讲道中插入(从上下文和释经上来说)适合的与当代相关的点,从而做到这一点。

虽然在上下文背景下研究比喻,所有正常的传统的工具、程序和原则都必须应用上,以便于能够推断理解作者的意图,但是比喻的体裁本身非常流畅、多样,并包含多个层次的意义,给讲道留下了很大的灵活性。我们应该记住,我们今天的听众喜爱比喻故事,并像最初的听众一样认为它们很迷人一样。这凸显了故事的力量。

黄金法则(就像所有准备讲道的解经研究一样)是不要让比喻表达它们所没有的意思。这是解释比喻的常见错误—即,试图使比喻的每一个细节都有一个相对的意义(也就是寓意化你的解释)。寓意化作为一种​​解释方法,其问题在于它太过主观。十个不同的人可以为每个细节想出十个不同的含义。理解和传讲比喻的一般规则是,正如我的一位牧师朋友曾经说过的,我们不应该试图“让比喻四肢着地行走”——即不要试图为每一个小细节赋予意义,除非比喻本身显明。

此外,寓意化试图为每一个小细节赋予意义,往往会错过比喻的整体要点。一些学者为了反驳寓意化的解释方法,声称每个比喻只有一个要点,细节只是叙事的装饰。但这无疑过于简单化了。比如浪子的比喻中,儿子、父亲、哥哥不都代表不同的人吗?比喻可以有一个也可以有多个点,就像它们可以有多种目的、形式和应用一样。然而,虽然一个比喻可能涉及到多个点,但每个比喻(就像任何其他圣经段落一样)只有一个神学要点或它所传达的原则。

7. 一种平衡的解释比喻的方法(改编自 Craig Blomberg,引自 Duval 和 Hays,260f)。

(a)为每个主角找到要点。所有其他的细节只是增强了故事情节。例如,在浪子的比喻中(路15:11-32),浪子清楚地代表了悔改和相信神的罪人。父亲代表神愿意施怜悯和宽恕。哥哥代表宗教人士——也就是耶稣这个比喻所指向的对象,法利赛人和文士(路15:2), 认为只有他们才配得神的恩典。

再比如在好撒玛利亚人的比喻中(路10:29-37)。被强盗殴打的人代表有需要的邻舍(这是耶稣所讲的主题,路10:29)。祭司和利未人代表宗教领袖,你希望他们无条件地爱他们的“邻居”,但他们可能不会真正这样做。撒玛利亚人代表那些你不会期望他们来爱具有不同宗教和文化背景的“邻居”,但实际上可能以实际和公开的方式这样做的人。

(b)确定最初听众所理解的要点。不要将比喻从上下文发生的事中孤立出来去阅读或解释。仔细查看它们的文学背景。耶稣的比喻总是说明在前面的问题或情况中发生了什么。

在试图确定比喻的要点时,问自己一些问题会很有帮助,例如:(1)这个比喻要求或产生什么样的反应? (2) 叙述中是否有惊喜、转折、震撼? (3) 这个比喻直接或间接地教导我们关于神国的什么?或者如何教导? (4) 基督论和神学的重点和教导是什么? (5) 它是什么类型的比喻——真正的比喻、明喻还是隐喻? (6) 比喻有哪些不同的场景和动作? (7) 听众是谁? (8) 谁是主要人物,他们代表谁? (9) 神学的中心论点是什么?

8.解释比喻的一些进一步提示

(1)一遍又一遍地听这个比喻。找到耶稣的听众可能会联想到的点。试着确定最初的听众会如何理解这个故事——他们会听到什么以及他们会如何解释和应用它。有时,含义在比喻被明确说明了;有时,出现在应用中(参考 太 5:13; 18:21, 35; 29:1-16; 22:14; 25:13; Lk. 12:15-21; 15:7, 10; 18:1, 9; 19:11)。

(2)仔细查看上下文。就像所有可靠的解经方法一样,从作者选择呈现素材的角度,仔细查看每个比喻的上下文。比如,葡萄园工人的比喻(太20:1-16),紧跟在富有的少年人的故事之后(太19:16-22)。在指出财富可能是进入天国的一大障碍之后,彼得说:“看哪,我撇下所有的跟从你,将来我要得什么呢?”(太19:27。 耶稣向彼得保证他们会得到应有的奖赏(太19:28-30),但是紧接在这个保证之后是这个“家主清早出去,雇人他的葡萄园做工”的比喻(太20:1).在这个比喻中,耶稣责备彼得的自义“看看我们为你做了多少,耶稣,我们为你放弃了多少…”。彼得说话就像葡萄园里的工人,他们认为自己比那些工作时间不长的人配得更多的工钱,而不是出于对基督的爱,满足于服事基督。这就是作者所选择呈现这个比喻的角度。

首先,看历史和文化的背景—它特殊的设定。比如,耶稣讲了浪子的比喻,专门责备那些发怨言的文士和法利赛人,个人接待罪人,又同他”(路15:1-2。接着,耶稣讲述了一个比喻,其中法利赛人和文士被描绘成“当一个罪人‘被找到’时,他们会抱怨而不是欢喜……欣赏的重点是大儿子的角色,他唯一的弟兄,不是一百个中的一个也不是十个中的一个,迷失了。这个大儿子代表抱怨的法利赛人,他们似乎无法分享天堂里神和天使的喜悦” (Moises Silva, 112-113)。

了解文化背景要求我们研究一世纪的习俗,以便我们了解经文中所说和所做的影响。例如,当浪子要求他的父亲将他的那部分遗产分给他时,他要求的是通常在父亲去世之前不会发生的事情。这样做,说明了他希望他的父亲死去。明白这一点,使父亲接纳这个儿子回来的爱和恩典更加显著。

II.加强圣经化领导
“和好的职分,第四部分(继续):呼吁神的百姓与神的执事和好”(哥后6:11-7:16)

我们在本期的牧师网络杂志中再次继续这段经文。上次,我们介绍了 哥后 6:11-18这段经文的前两节:

1.一个牧者爱的呼吁(6:11-13)

2.一个牧者警告的呼吁(6:14-18)

现在我们继续第三部分…

3.. 牧者呼吁的应用(7:1-4).“因此…”(从刚才所说的得出结论,),基于旧约的应许(6:16-18),(注意这个应许是有条件的)如果他们将自己与恶(外邦人的宗教行为,尤其指偶像敬拜)分别出来,神要做他们的父,恢复他的百姓与他应有的关系,然后保罗劝告:亲爱的弟兄,我既有应许,就当洁净自己,除去身体、灵魂一切的污秽,敬畏神,得以成圣”(7:1

对保罗而言,神的百姓最重要的圣洁原则是,我们“和不信的不要同”(6:14,而在神百姓中实践这样的圣洁就是要洁净自己,除去身体、灵魂的一切污秽”(7:1。原则是“不义的人不能承受神的国”(哥前6:9-10)。神的百姓 “奉主耶基督的名,并借着我神的灵,已、成圣、称了”(哥前6:11

这个原则必须在他们的行为中明显表现出来,对他们才会是真实的。换句话说,地位上成圣必须在行为的成圣中表现出来。我们已经被神分别为圣—这是地位上的成圣(例如徒 26:18; 来 10:14; 13:12; 1 彼 1:2; 弗 5:26; 约 17:17)——我们也必须洁净自己—这是逐渐的、行为上的成圣(哥前1:18;彼前3:15),以至于我们与基督的联合在我们的生活中变得越来越明显和真实。已经从罪中得自由(罗6:11-18)并且能够不再犯罪(1约3:9),神在我们里面做工(帖前5:23;多2:14)以至于我们越来越像基督(哥后3:18;罗8:29;来13:20-21;1约2:6;3:7)。特别是圣灵,在我们成圣的过程中活跃作用(帖前4:3;帖后2:13;加5:16-18,22-23)。

被动成圣和主动成圣这两个概念在这里没有冲突。成圣是神在我们里面的工作,我们被洁净,被分别出来、被称为圣徒和圣洁的(哥前1:2;哥后1;1),神在基督里使我们成为圣洁(罗1:30;帖后2:13),并且我们也洁净自己,努力不犯罪(哥前6;18;哥后7:1;1约3:6:19),寻求去实践神对我们所说的真理(哥前7:34;帖前4:3-8;罗6:19),渴慕更像基督(罗8:13;来12:1;腓2:12;3:13-14;彼后1:5ff)。

因为与“不信的人同而导致的 “不洁净(污秽、肮脏)是完全的,污秽我们的“身体、灵魂”。因此,洁净也是完全的,既需要“身体”的洁净(身体上的、外面的洁净—从外面看我们是谁),也需要“灵魂”的洁净(灵魂,内在的—从里面看我们是谁)。

“成全圣意味着我们的成圣是逐步的,我们在这个世上努力成圣,但同时也明白只有在我们得荣耀的时候,我们的圣洁才会完全。虽然,成圣过程的完全要在世界末了的时候(帖前. 3:13; 犹 24; 哥后 11:2),但不管怎样,我们现在仍然继续向着完全努力。另外“成全圣也意味着这是我们必须为自己做的事情。就像哥林多教会,他们必须完全他们的圣洁,把自己与不洁净的分开、不与不信的人相交—特别是,但不完全限于,偶像崇拜。

正如“敬畏神”是保罗事工的动力之一(5:11;参考哥前2:3;哥后7:11),所以这也应该成为神百姓追求圣洁的动力—洁净自己,除去身体、灵魂的一切污秽。我们生活在神无所不知的注视之下。我们无法逃脱他的审查和审判。

跟随着他在6:11-12节的思想,保罗继续一个牧者对哥林多人的呼吁。“你要心地大收。我未曾亏负谁,未曾,未曾占的便宜”(7:2。他呼吁他们“心地”收纳他。他首先将福音的好消息传给他们,他们的心应该向他敞开,向假使徒(正在影响他们的人)关闭(David E. Garland, 哥后, 344)。毕竟,保罗没有做过任何事情使他们有理由这样对待他。尽管他严厉斥责和强烈指示,但他没有冤枉任何人,没有腐蚀任何人,也没有欺骗任何人。那么,他们为什么要这样对待他?他们为什么要把他拒之门外?

“我说这话,不是要定你的罪。我已经说过,你常在我心里,情愿与你同生同死”(7:3。保罗想要确保他们不要误解他在7:2中的辩护。读它的人,尤其是哥林多人的属灵状况,可能会认为保罗不是在为自己辩护,而是在指责他们。因此他澄清他的辩护,“我说这话,不是要定你的罪。我已经说过,你常在我心里,情愿与你同生同死”。他不想他们对这有任何的误会。

“情愿与你同生同死”可以被译为“因此我同死是(“εις 希腊)同生”。因此保罗这个陈述是有目的的,他在这里要么指他和他们作为基督徒的经历和奉献(也就是和基督同死,并与他并为他而活),要么指他们作为基督徒死后的共同未来,一起复活与基督一同在天上。他们之间有这样亲密的关系,这是他想向他们表达的。

“我大大地放胆,向你们说话。我因你多多夸口,得安慰。我在一切患中分外地快”(7:4。这节经文可以作为2:14-7:4这部分的最后一句,或者作为下一部分7:4-16的第一句。7:4-16可以看做2:3关于找到提多并听提多报告的继续。与其试图决定这节经文的位置,不如考虑把7:4作为一个枢纽节,结束上一节,开始下一节,因为它与这两节都很好地相关。7:4保罗强调了他对他们的积极态度,同时介绍了他对提多报告的积极回应,反过来,这又回到了书信开头(2:2-3 参考 7:4, 13)。

他以前对他们的大胆讲话(在各种问题上纠正他们)带来了他想要和需要的敬虔悔改和改正(7:9-10)。因此,他对他们直率的责备和纠正达到了它的预期结果,现在使得他为他们感到“自豪”。他的放胆讲论有可能永久断绝他们的关系(因为没有人喜欢被纠正),而事实上,通过他们的积极回应,他得到了很好的结果,所以现在他能够并且高兴地因他们夸口。确实,他得安慰分外地快”,尽管“在一切患中”。他所指的患难显然是他在马其顿寻找提多时所遇到的(7:5).

III. 讲道大纲

题目:基督的福音(太7:13-14)

主旨:通向永生的两条路

主题:如果你想要进入天国,你必须选择窄的、难走的真理之路。

要点1:一条路容易走但结局艰难(7:13).

1a)它开始容易,因为入口是宽的,路是大的

1b).他结局艰难因为他的目的地是永恒的毁灭。

要点 2:另一条路难走但结局容易(7:14).

2a)它开始难因为入口窄,路难走

2b)它结局容易因为它的目的地是永生

Related Topics: Pastors

網上牧師雜誌 – 中文版(繁體), TCh Ed, Issue 44 2022 年 夏季

A ministry of…

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

I. 加強講解式講道:傳講新約福音,第三部分,比喻

比喻並非是福音獨有的。比如拿單,用了一個比喻警示大衛關於他的罪(撒下12:1-10)。以賽亞用了一個比喻控告以色列家(賽5:1-7.其中1-6節為比喻,7節為應用)。 然而,為了本文的目的,我將把比喻作為“福音”的一個下屬類型來處理。

1..比喻的定義和結構。比喻是一種短篇故事,裡面的日常經歷和人物代表了某些道德或屬靈的真理。耶穌經常用比喻來說明問題。通常,比喻以描述某一特定情況下的事件或人物開始,以直接應用或解釋故事結束,使聽者認識到故事與他們的生活有關。這就是為什麼你經常會看到對耶穌比喻的強烈負面反應,因為這些比喻觸到了聽眾的良心。

2.比喻的文學形式。簡單來說,比喻是修辭的一種形式。讓我做以下的區分…

(1) “真正的”比喻。我所說的“真正的”比喻是指那些符合我上面所給出的結構和定義的比喻。“真正的”比喻的例子:(1)好撒瑪利亞人(路1:25-37);(2)失羊、失錢和浪子(路15:1-32);(3)大宴席(路14:15-24);(4)在葡萄園做工(太2:1-16);(5)財主和拉撒路(路16:19-31);(6)十個童女(太25:1-13).

(2)明喻。一些比喻採用擴展的明喻的形式,其中主體與被比較的事物是有區別的,通過使用“像”或者“如同”這樣的比較使其明確——“天國就像…”(太13:44-46).比喻中明喻的例子有:(1)面酵(太13:33);(2)撒種(太13:1-23);芥菜種(太13:31-32)。

(3) 隱喻。有些比喻採用擴展的隱喻。與明喻不同的是, 隱喻的主體與被比較物之間的比較是隱含的、分不開的。例如“你們是世上的鹽…你們是世上的光”(太5:13-14)。雖然可以說這些陳述只是隱喻(這也是真的),但從他們所處的上下文來說,我認為有些隱喻從結構和目的來說有比喻的特點。

3..比喻的目的。雖然比喻的形式和內容簡單明瞭,但是關於它們的意義有很多爭論。確實,有些比喻難以理解,比如不義管家的比喻(路16:1-13)。當我們看到這樣一個故事,會問:“耶穌到底說的是什麼意思?難道他真的要我們不誠實嗎?或者這個故事不僅僅是表面所看到的?”。就連門徒們也會疑問耶穌一些比喻的意義(可4:10;‘路8:9’)。

不幸的是,耶穌對比喻意義的解釋本身就是一個難以理解的陳述:“神國的奧秘只叫你們知道;若是對外人講,凡事就用比喻,叫他們看是看見,卻不曉得;聽是聽見,卻不明白。恐怕他們回轉過來,就得赦免”(可4:11-12;引用賽6:9-10.雖然這句話並不一定意味著這是耶穌所有比喻的目的,但是它確實解釋了為什麼耶穌用一些比喻來講解天國的神聖奧秘,這些神聖的奧秘對於那些有神的生命的人是敞開的,向頑固抵擋真理的人是隱藏的。

或許耶穌的解釋最好從經文的背景來理解。他的事工有兩方面完全相反的效果。正如使徒保羅說的,對有些人來說,耶穌在比喻中傳遞的資訊是“活的香氣叫人活”,但是對另外一些人就是“死的香氣叫人死”(哥後2:14-16).或者,像使徒彼得說的,對於“你們相信的人”,耶穌是“匠人所棄的石頭已變成了房角的頭塊石頭”,但是對其他人,他是“絆腳的石頭,跌人的磐石”(彼前2:7-8。換句話說,耶穌的比喻迫使人選擇立場。你不是支持他就是反對他。這顯然是很多比喻的效果—它們將人區分開來,並顯明人的心跡。就像Moises Silva所說的,“比喻…對那些選擇反對主的人來說,成為審判的工具。因此,‘有的,還要給他;沒有的,連他所有的也要奪去’(可4:25)” (Silva, An Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics, 111)。

因此,比喻是為了區分那些聽過耶穌的人—一方面,向拒絕他的人,隱藏了真理,另一方面,向那些對他的話積極回應的人,顯明了真理。對於那些積極回應他的話的人,耶穌的比較彰顯了神,他的真理和他對自己百姓的心意。對於那些拒接耶穌和他的話的人,比喻被耶穌用作審判以及向他們隱藏真理的工具(比如太 13:10-15; 可 4:11-12; 路 8:9-10)。就像Henry Virkler說的,“同樣的比喻使忠誠的信徒明白真理,但對那些硬著心反對真理的人卻毫無意義” (Virkler, Hermeneutics, 165)。哥前2章也教導了同樣的道理,重生的人明白屬靈的真理,而未重生的人不能明白真理。不同的是,一個有屬靈的看見,而另一個是屬靈瞎眼的。因此,比喻有兩個目的或者焦點—一個對相信的人,第二個是對不相信的人。

比喻的目的是兩方面的:(1)教導聽者關於屬靈的真理,比如禱告、奉獻等(如可13:10-12;可4:11),和(2)就不當、罪惡或虛偽的生活向他們提出質疑(如路7:36-50)。一般來說,比喻的目的是向聽的人顯明他們的內心和品性—他們是誰/怎樣的人。

4. 比喻的本質。比喻是普通人能夠輕易理解的、能從中找到認同並能從中學習的、與日常生活相關的簡單有趣的故事。可能正是因為比喻的這些特點,耶穌在他的教導中大量使用比喻。

因此,比喻揭示、澄清、強調屬靈的真理並將其應用于心靈、良心。比喻的性質使它們能夠在人們的腦海和良心上留下深刻的印象,遠比僅僅陳述觀點更有影響、更有效、更持久—比如不懈的寡婦和不義的官(路18:1-8),或者法利賽人和稅吏的禱告(路18:9-14)。

因此,比喻的本質是真實的簡短故事,將相似的情況、人和事件與另外一個情況、人或事件比較,從而解釋、闡明和教導一個不熟悉或者不被知道但卻很重要的屬靈真理。本質上說,比喻是間接的,需要聽者做出回應。

5.理解和解釋比喻。比喻就是資訊。講比喻是為了抓住或引起聽眾注意,讓他們簡單瞭解自己的行為或者讓他們對耶穌的事工做出某種回應。正是這個特點,使得解釋比喻很困難,因為就像解釋一個玩笑—如果你必須解釋它,它就不再有趣和直觀。就像笑話的直接感染力一樣,比喻的聽眾也會立即與他們所明白的點產生共鳴。

由於我們與比喻的時間、文化和語言相距甚遠,我們可能無法立即明白這一點,因此它們對我們的作用與對原聽者的作用不同。然而通過對比喻進行解釋,我們有可能明白當時聽眾所理解的。

.一般來說,對故事解釋和應用會出現在故事結尾,與故事本身區分開來。比如路7:40-42,三個主要人物是:債主和兩個欠債的。聽眾立即會明白:(1)神就像這個債主;(2)妓女和西門就像兩個欠債的。這個比喻是一個審判,呼籲西門悔改。這個比喻的力量在於西門不可能錯過要點。需要注意的是,涉及到的人物本身並不構成比喻。他們只是為了把聽者吸引到故事中,使聽者能從中找到認同。這個故事的重點在於有意識的回應。在這個例子中,是對西門和他朋友的審判,對這個女人的接納和饒恕。

請記住,在某種程度上,耶穌的所有比喻都是耶穌選擇用來宣講天國的方式。因此,我們必須非常熟悉耶穌事工中天國的意義。

6.研究和解釋比喻的準則。當這些比喻第一次被說出來的時候,很少需要解釋,因為它們的意思對聽眾來說是直觀的。但由於我們當時不在現場,而且它們只有書面形式,我們缺乏對原始聽眾所擁有的一些相關點的直接理解。然而,通過解經過程,我們可以高度準確地發現它們的點。我們需要做的是把那個點應用到我們的背景下(如馬太——18:10-14;20:1-16)。你可以通過在講道中插入(從上下文和釋經上來說)適合的與當代相關的點,從而做到這一點。

雖然在上下文背景下研究比喻,所有正常的傳統的工具、程式和原則都必須應用上,以便於能夠推斷理解作者的意圖,但是比喻的體裁本身非常流暢、多樣,並包含多個層次的意義,給講道留下了很大的靈活性。我們應該記住,我們今天的聽眾喜愛比喻故事,並像最初的聽眾一樣認為它們很迷人一樣。這凸顯了故事的力量。

黃金法則(就像所有準備講道的解經研究一樣)是不要讓比喻表達它們所沒有的意思。這是解釋比喻的常見錯誤—即,試圖使比喻的每一個細節都有一個相對的意義(也就是寓意化你的解釋)。寓意化作為一種​​解釋方法,其問題在於它太過主觀。十個不同的人可以為每個細節想出十個不同的含義。理解和傳講比喻的一般規則是,正如我的一位牧師朋友曾經說過的,我們不應該試圖“讓比喻四肢著地行走”——即不要試圖為每一個小細節賦予意義,除非比喻本身顯明。

此外,寓意化試圖為每一個小細節賦予意義,往往會錯過比喻的整體要點。一些學者為了反駁寓意化的解釋方法,聲稱每個比喻只有一個要點,細節只是敘事的裝飾。但這無疑過於簡單化了。比如浪子的比喻中,兒子、父親、哥哥不都代表不同的人嗎?比喻可以有一個也可以有多個點,就像它們可以有多種目的、形式和應用一樣。然而,雖然一個比喻可能涉及到多個點,但每個比喻(就像任何其他聖經段落一樣)只有一個神學要點或它所傳達的原則。

7. 一種平衡的解釋比喻的方法(改編自 Craig Blomberg,引自 Duval 和 Hays,260f)。

(a)為每個主角找到要點。所有其他的細節只是增強了故事情節。例如,在浪子的比喻中(路15:11-32),浪子清楚地代表了悔改和相信神的罪人。父親代表神願意施憐憫和寬恕。哥哥代表宗教人士——也就是耶穌這個比喻所指向的物件,法利賽人和文士(路15:2), 認為只有他們才配得神的恩典。

再比如在好撒瑪利亞人的比喻中(路10:29-37)。被強盜毆打的人代表有需要的鄰舍(這是耶穌所講的主題,路10:29)。祭司和利未人代表宗教領袖,你希望他們無條件地愛他們的“鄰居”,但他們可能不會真正這樣做。撒瑪利亞人代表那些你不會期望他們來愛具有不同宗教和文化背景的“鄰居”,但實際上可能以實際和公開的方式這樣做的人。

(b)確定最初聽眾所理解的要點。不要將比喻從上下文發生的事中孤立出來去閱讀或解釋。仔細查看它們的文學背景。耶穌的比喻總是說明在前面的問題或情況中發生了什麼。

在試圖確定比喻的要點時,問自己一些問題會很有幫助,例如:(1)這個比喻要求或產生什麼樣的反應? (2) 敘述中是否有驚喜、轉折、震撼? (3) 這個比喻直接或間接地教導我們關於神國的什麼?或者如何教導? (4) 基督論和神學的重點和教導是什麼? (5) 它是什麼類型的比喻——真正的比喻、明喻還是隱喻? (6) 比喻有哪些不同的場景和動作? (7) 聽眾是誰? (8) 誰是主要人物,他們代表誰? (9) 神學的中心論點是什麼?

8.解釋比喻的一些進一步提示

(1)一遍又一遍地聽這個比喻。找到耶穌的聽眾可能會聯想到的點。試著確定最初的聽眾會如何理解這個故事——他們會聽到什麼以及他們會如何解釋和應用它。有時,含義在比喻被明確說明了;有時,出現在應用中(參考 太 5:13; 18:21, 35; 29:1-16; 22:14; 25:13; Lk. 12:15-21; 15:7, 10; 18:1, 9; 19:11)。

(2)仔細查看上下文。就像所有可靠的解經方法一樣,從作者選擇呈現素材的角度,仔細查看每個比喻的上下文。比如,葡萄園工人的比喻(太20:1-16),緊跟在富有的少年人的故事之後(太19:16-22)。在指出財富可能是進入天國的一大障礙之後,彼得說:“看哪,我們已經撇下所有的跟從你,將來我們要得什麼呢?”(太19:27。 耶穌向彼得保證他們會得到應有的獎賞(太19:28-30),但是緊接在這個保證之後是這個“家主清早出去,雇人進他的葡萄園做工”的比喻(太20:1).在這個比喻中,耶穌責備彼得的自義“看看我們為你做了多少,耶穌,我們為你放棄了多少…”。彼得說話就像葡萄園裡的工人,他們認為自己比那些工作時間不長的人配得更多的工錢,而不是出於對基督的愛,滿足於服事基督。這就是作者所選擇呈現這個比喻的角度。

首先,看歷史和文化的背景—它特殊的設定。比如,耶穌講了浪子的比喻,專門責備那些發怨言的文士和法利賽人,“這個人接待罪人,又同他們吃飯”(路15:1-2。接著,耶穌講述了一個比喻,其中法利賽人和文士被描繪成“當一個罪人‘被找到’時,他們會抱怨而不是歡喜……欣賞的重點是大兒子的角色,他唯一的弟兄,不是一百個中的一個也不是十個中的一個,迷失了。這個大兒子代表抱怨的法利賽人,他們似乎無法分享天堂裡神和天使的喜悅” (Moises Silva, 112-113)。

瞭解文化背景要求我們研究一世紀的習俗,以便我們瞭解經文中所說和所做的影響。例如,當浪子要求他的父親將他的那部分遺產分給他時,他要求的是通常在父親去世之前不會發生的事情。這樣做,說明了他希望他的父親死去。明白這一點,使父親接納這個兒子回來的愛和恩典更加顯著。

II.加強聖經化領導
“和好的職分,第四部分(繼續):呼籲神的百姓與神的執事和好”(哥後6:11-7:16)

我們在本期的牧師網路雜誌中再次繼續這段經文。上次,我們介紹了 哥後 6:11-18這段經文的前兩節:

1.一個牧者愛的呼籲(6:11-13)

2.一個牧者警告的呼籲(6:14-18)

現在我們繼續第三部分…

3.. 牧者呼籲的應用(7:1-4).“因此…”(從剛才所說的得出結論,),基於舊約的應許(6:16-18),(注意這個應許是有條件的)如果他們將自己與惡(外邦人的宗教行為,尤其指偶像敬拜)分別出來,神要做他們的父,恢復他的百姓與他應有的關係,然後保羅勸告:“親愛的弟兄,我們既有這等應許,就當潔淨自己,除去身體、靈魂一切的污穢,敬畏神,得以成聖”(7:1

對保羅而言,神的百姓最重要的聖潔原則是,我們“和不信的不要同負一軛”(6:14,而在神百姓中實踐這樣的聖潔就是要“潔淨自己,除去身體、靈魂的一切污穢”(7:1。原則是“不義的人不能承受神的國”(哥前6:9-10)。神的百姓 “奉主耶穌基督的名,並借著我們神的靈,已經洗淨、成聖、稱義了”(哥前6:11

這個原則必須在他們的行為中明顯表現出來,對他們才會是真實的。換句話說,地位上成聖必須在行為的成聖中表現出來。我們已經被神分別為聖—這是地位上的成聖(例如徒 26:18; 來 10:14; 13:12; 1 彼 1:2; 弗 5:26; 約 17:17)——我們也必須潔淨自己—這是逐漸的、行為上的成聖(哥前1:18;彼前3:15),以至於我們與基督的聯合在我們的生活中變得越來越明顯和真實。已經從罪中得自由(羅6:11-18)並且能夠不再犯罪(1約3:9),神在我們裡面做工(帖前5:23;多2:14)以至於我們越來越像基督(哥後3:18;羅8:29;來13:20-21;1約2:6;3:7)。特別是聖靈,在我們成聖的過程中活躍作用(帖前4:3;帖後2:13;加5:16-18,22-23)。

被動成聖和主動成聖這兩個概念在這裡沒有衝突。成聖是神在我們裡面的工作,我們被潔淨,被分別出來、被稱為聖徒和聖潔的(哥前1:2;哥後1;1),神在基督裡使我們成為聖潔(羅1:30;帖後2:13),並且我們也潔淨自己,努力不犯罪(哥前6;18;哥後7:1;1約3:6:19),尋求去實踐神對我們所說的真理(哥前7:34;帖前4:3-8;羅6:19),渴慕更像基督(羅8:13;來12:1;腓2:12;3:13-14;彼後1:5ff)。

因為與“不信的人同負一軛”而導致的 “不潔淨”(污穢、骯髒)是完全的,污穢我們的“身體、靈魂”。因此,“潔淨”也是完全的,既需要“身體”的潔淨(身體上的、外面的潔淨—從外面看我們是誰),也需要“靈魂”的潔淨(靈魂,內在的—從裡面看我們是誰)。

“成全聖潔”意味著我們的成聖是逐步的,我們在這個世上努力成聖,但同時也明白只有在我們得榮耀的時候,我們的聖潔才會完全。雖然,成聖過程的完全要在世界末了的時候(帖前. 3:13; 猶 24; 哥後 11:2),但不管怎樣,我們現在仍然繼續向著完全努力。另外“成全聖潔”也意味著這是我們必須為自己做的事情。就像哥林多教會,他們必須完全他們的聖潔,把自己與不潔淨的分開、不與不信的人相交—特別是,但不完全限於,偶像崇拜。

正如“敬畏神”是保羅事工的動力之一(5:11;參考哥前2:3;哥後7:11),所以這也應該成為神百姓追求聖潔的動力—“潔淨自己,除去身體、靈魂的一切污穢”。我們生活在神無所不知的注視之下。我們無法逃脫他的審查和審判。

跟隨著他在6:11-12節的思想,保羅繼續一個牧者對哥林多人的呼籲。“你們要心地寬大收納我們。我們未曾虧負誰,未曾敗壞誰,未曾占誰的便宜”(7:2。他呼籲他們“心地寬大”收納他。他首先將福音的好消息傳給他們,他們的心應該向他敞開,向假使徒(正在影響他們的人)關閉(David E. Garland, 哥後, 344)。畢竟,保羅沒有做過任何事情使他們有理由這樣對待他。儘管他嚴厲斥責和強烈指示,但他沒有冤枉任何人,沒有腐蝕任何人,也沒有欺騙任何人。那麼,他們為什麼要這樣對待他?他們為什麼要把他拒之門外?

“我說這話,不是要定你們的罪。我已經說過,你們常在我們心裡,情願與你們同生同死”(7:3。保羅想要確保他們不要誤解他在7:2中的辯護。讀它的人,尤其是哥林多人的屬靈狀況,可能會認為保羅不是在為自己辯護,而是在指責他們。因此他澄清他的辯護,“我說這話,不是要定你們的罪。我已經說過,你們常在我們心裡,情願與你們同生同死”。他不想他們對這有任何的誤會。

“情願與你們同生同死”可以被譯為“因此我們同死是為了(“εις 希臘語)能夠同生”。因此保羅這個陳述是有目的的,他在這裡要麼指他和他們作為基督徒的經歷和奉獻(也就是和基督同死,並與他並為他而活),要麼指他們作為基督徒死後的共同未來,一起復活與基督一同在天上。他們之間有這樣親密的關係,這是他想向他們表達的。

“我大大地放膽,向你們說話。我因你們多多誇口,滿得安慰。我們在一切患難中分外地快樂”(7:4。這節經文可以作為2:14-7:4這部分的最後一句,或者作為下一部分7:4-16的第一句。7:4-16可以看做2:3關於找到提多並聽提多報告的繼續。與其試圖決定這節經文的位置,不如考慮把7:4作為一個樞紐節,結束上一節,開始下一節,因為它與這兩節都很好地相關。7:4保羅強調了他對他們的積極態度,同時介紹了他對提多報告的積極回應,反過來,這又回到了書信開頭(2:2-3 參考 7:4, 13)。

他以前對他們的大膽講話(在各種問題上糾正他們)帶來了他想要和需要的敬虔悔改和改正(7:9-10)。因此,他對他們直率的責備和糾正達到了它的預期結果,現在使得他為他們感到“自豪”。他的放膽講論有可能永久斷絕他們的關係(因為沒有人喜歡被糾正),而事實上,通過他們的積極回應,他得到了很好的結果,所以現在他能夠並且高興地因他們誇口。確實,他“滿得安慰分外地快樂”,儘管“在一切患難中”。他所指的患難顯然是他在馬其頓尋找提多時所遇到的(7:5).

III. 講道大綱

題目:基督的福音(太7:13-14)

主旨:通向永生的兩條路

主題:如果你想要進入天國,你必須選擇窄的、難走的真理之路。

要點1:一條路容易走但結局艱難(7:13).

1a)它開始容易,因為入口是寬的,路是大的

1b).他結局艱難因為他的目的地是永恆的毀滅。

要點 2:另一條路難走但結局容易(7:14).

2a)它開始難因為入口窄,路難走

2b)它結局容易因為它的目的地是永生

Related Topics: Pastors

Q. Based on Genesis 16:6 are we to blame Sarah for Hagar’s running away?

Based on Genesis 16:6 are we to blame Sarah for Hagar’s running away? If Sarah acted like a loving Christian could there have been a good solution?

Answer

Dear Brother,

Your question is a good one, because it should help us greatly as we read the Old Testament. To put it plainly, the Old Testament saints – men and women – were not “saintly,” they were rascals. All too often we read the Old Testament in such a way as to paint these saints as pious saints, thereby overlooking their flaws, even their sins. What you have asked about Sarah, also applies to Abraham, who as a matter of policy, presented his wife, the future mother of the Messianic seed, as his sister, a woman eligible for marriage (see Genesis 12:10-20; chapter 20, especially verse 13). David acquired Bathsheba as his wife through horribly sinful means, and yet she, too, would produce the Messianic seed (Matthew 1:6). Jonah preached the most successful revival in his ministry, but with all the wrong motives. Even Moses lost his temper and thereby showed irreverence toward God, and thus was not allowed to enter the land (Numbers 20:1-12).

All of this is entirely consistent with the message of the Bible, Old Testament and New, and that is that God has chosen to deal with us (particularly believers) in grace, not as a result of our good works, but as a manifestation of His mercy and grace. This theme is highlighted in Exodus 32-34, and especially in 34:6-7:

Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; 7 who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations” (Exodus 34:6-7, NAU).

The grace of God is the consistent basis for man’s appeal for mercy and grace throughout the Old Testament (see, for example, Numbers 14, see especially verses 10-24).

The fact is that God’s gracious acts are always the overflow of His mercy and grace. God does not need our good deeds in order to bless. Indeed, God’s gracious purposes often are the result of His grace in spite of our sins. Joseph’s betrayal by his brothers is but one example:

When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him!” 16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father charged before he died, saying, 17 ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph, “Please forgive, I beg you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, for they did you wrong.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. 21 So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them (Genesis 50:15-21).

So, now, back to Sarah. Sarah was wrong to seek an offspring through Hagar, for God was going to produce the Messianic seed through Abraham and Sarah, not Abraham and Hagar. Both Abraham and Sarah were wrong in this matter (see Genesis 15:1-6; 16:1-2; 17:10-22). We should note that while Hagar fled, this first time, from Sarah, God instructed her to return to Sarah’s abuse, promising to bless her son, Ishmael. In the end, God used Sarah’s hatred of Hagar and her son, Ishmael, to get them away, so that Isaac, yet to be born, would be the sole heir of Abraham. Sarah’s hatred toward Hagar and her son was used of God to overcome Abraham’s affection for Ishmael, and his reluctance to send him away.

Now Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, mocking. 10 Therefore she said to Abraham, “Drive out this maid and her son, for the son of this maid shall not be an heir with my son Isaac.” 11 The matter distressed Abraham greatly because of his son. 12 But God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed because of the lad and your maid; whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her, for through Isaac your descendants shall be named. 13 “And of the son of the maid I will make a nation also, because he is your descendant.” 14 So Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar, putting them on her shoulder, and gave her the boy, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered about in the wilderness of Beersheba (Genesis 21:9-14).

Now, Abraham had no “backup son,” who would become the father of the promised Messianic seed when God instructed him to go up on the mountain and sacrifice his son (Genesis 22).

The underlying truths which make this possible are that God is both gracious, and sovereign, and thus man’s sin cannot prevent Him from fulfilling His purposes. Because God’s mercy is bestowed out of His grace, our good performance is not the essential element which is the basis for His blessings. In the end, it is God who rightly gets the glory.

Bob

Related Topics: Character of God, Christian Life, Hamartiology (Sin), Suffering, Trials, Persecution

4. Jacob: His Running and Returning: “God’s Grace In Reconciliation” (Gen. 33:1-20)

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Introduction

A documentary series that my wife and I used to watch from time to time is called “The Locator”. In these documentaries, Troy Dunn (“the locator”) tracks down and attempts to reunite families – a missing sister or brother, children given up at birth etc. There are many tragic stories, many of which have happy endings.

One happy ending was the story of a woman in the military who had a relationship with another soldier. They broke up and shortly afterward she discovered she was pregnant. Feeling that the father was too young to take on this responsibility she decided to not notify him. Subsequently, she gave birth to a boy, whose questions about his father during his growing up years she never properly answered. Finally, when her son was about 25 years old, he contacted Troy Dunn to find his father for him, which Troy did.

Watching the initial meetings of many of these estranged family members is interesting and moving to watch. Some end in disaster, like a daughter who did not want to meet her father who had abandoned her. But this one was a very positive experience for all involved. By the time they meet, the young man’s father has a wife and 3 teenage children, none of whom knew of course that he had another son because he himself didn’t know. After finding out that he had another son, he discussed the situation with his wife and children, all of whom were excited about meeting him.

On the appointed day, they all met and welcomed him with open arms as one of their family – a happy reunion. I wondered why they could so quickly and willingly and lovingly accept him, as many families do not react that way in this type of situation. But then, as the camera panned around the room in their house where they were meeting, I noticed a plaque on the wall. That plaque gave me the clue to why this family was so accepting in their reconciliation with their new son, brother, and grandson. The plaque said: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” These were Christians who knew the truth and reality of the grace of God in reconciliation. That’s our subject in this message: God’s grace in reconciliation.

We learn in our passage that reconciliation is made possible through humility and love that are rooted in God’s grace. When Jacob was at Bethel in Genesis 28, God had promised that He would give him the land on which he was lying, that He would be with Jacob and keep him wherever he went, and that He would bring him back to this land (28:13, 15). Now God fulfills that promise, directing Jacob back to Canaan, to the land of his ancestors and his family relations (31:3). So, Jacob packs up all his possessions and family that he had acquired in Paddan-aram to go back to Canaan (31:17-18).

But the past has a way of catching up with you. It caught up with Jacob at the river Jabbok (32:22-32) and it catches up with him now in our chapter. So far, he had gotten what he wanted but at a great cost - he had lost contact with his mother and he had severed his relationship with his brother, Esau. Now he must face Esau for the first time in 20 years. He could have kept running as he had before, but he didn’t. Perhaps by this time he has finally reached the end of himself and his self-sufficient, self-improving, ambitious lifestyle. Perhaps he knows that he has run out of options. Or, perhaps he intends to be obedient to God’s call to go back home and face the music whatever that might be.

After wrestling with God all night, Jacob limps across the river Jabbok and, “lifting up his eyes” he saw Esau “coming with 400 men (33:1). Clearly this sight unnerves Jacob. It seems to him that Esau is bent on exacting the vengeance he had threatened before (27:41). But, in fact that was not the case at all. Instead, Jacob receives from Esau acceptance and affection. In this meeting we see that…

I. Reconciliation Is Initiated By Inward Renewal (33:1-4)

Reconciliation is a powerful force for most people. We don’t generally like living with fractured, distant relationships. We have this inner longing for restoration, unity, happiness. The last time they were together, Jacob was so determined to get the blessing from his father, Isaac, that he went to extraordinary lengths to deceive Isaac and defraud Esau out of his birthright. As a result, Esau hated Jacob so much that he threatened to kill him (27:41).

Now they are meeting for the first time after that episode. Jacob, the offender, is about to meet Esau, the offended. What we see here in this process of reconciliation is that…

1. Reconciliation is initiated by a renewed attitude (33:1-3). Up to now, Jacob hadn’t worried about meeting Esau again. He could patch things up - he could buy him off with presents. After all, he is wealthy now as 32:1-5 indicate. But when he sees Esau approaching with a small army, Jacob is clearly suspicious about what to expect. So, not knowing how this will turn out, in addition to the earlier division of his entire company (32:7), he now also divides up his family into four – (1) the two servants with their children in front; then (2) Leah with her children; and (3) Rachel (his favorite) and Joseph at the rear, the place of greatest safety; and (4) Jacob “himself went on before them” (33:3a). Notice that previously Jacob had stayed behind (32:16, 18), but now he takes the lead. He is living up to his new name, “Israel” – he is a leader now, leading the way and protecting his family.

Jacob didn’t know what was in Esau’s heart and Esau didn’t know what to expect from Jacob. But quickly it became apparent that both brothers longed for reconciliation – both the offender and the offended. We need to appreciate the enormity of this moment - two brothers meeting for the first time after 20 years of estrangement. This is a climactic moment! How will it turn out? What will happen? Thankfully, this time, Jacob is not out to defraud his bother. Rather, he takes the low place, “bowing himself to the ground seven times until he came near his brother” (33:3b).

While no words are exchanged at this point, the brothers’ actions speak louder than words. Taking the low place is the best attitude you can take in the process of reconciliation. “Bowing” here (and in vv. 6 and 7) is an act of contrition and repentance. Previously Jacob had taken the high place when he defrauded his older brother out of his birthright, but now Jacob takes the low place before Esau. Previously, Isaac had told Jacob that “nations would bow down to him” (27:29), but now Jacob bows down to Esau. He is not used to bowing down to others but he had to bow down to God - first at Bethel and then at the river Jabbok. And now, he bows before Esau as a slave to his master. This is a radically renewed attitude. This is humility, submission. More than that it’s contrition and repentance - the lesser bowing before the greater; the servant to his lord.

Jacob surely is a changed man. His encounter with God at the Jabbok seems to have changed him spiritually and physically. His permanent limp prevents him from ever running again. It reminds him that he has met God face to face. Now he is a changed man with a new identity – no longer Jacob but Israel (32:28). Accordingly, he takes a new posture before Esau, demonstrating inward renewal in a new attitude. A new of attitude is a prerequisite for reconciliation, changing from dominance to subservience, from taking away (his deceit) to giving back (in the gifts).

Words do not express what actions can and do. A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Prov. 15:1). While some people find regret and repentance hard to express in words, it is even harder to express in actions. To bow down literally or metaphorically before someone whom we have offended and take that low place is hard. It strikes hard against our pride and self-justification. The question in Jacob’s mind must surely have been: “How will Esau react? Will he now carry out his threat to kill me?”

First, then, reconciliation is initiated by a renewed attitude…

2. Reconciliation is initiated by a renewed heart (33:4). Jacob has no idea how Esau will react. Indeed he has every reason to think that this meeting is not going to go well. Perhaps Esau would try to exact revenge by harming Jacob’s family or taking his possessions as recompense for the birthright he had lost before. It sure looked that way to him. Perhaps Esau still wants to prove his entitlement to their father’s blessing as the older son. Perhaps 20 years had reinforced and exacerbated Esau’s hatred and desire for revenge. But, by God’s grace, such is not the case.

In fact, instead of evil intent, Esau expresses affection, an eagerness for reunion, unconditional acceptance, a spontaneous act of vulnerability in a renewed heart. Esau is not out for revenge and certainly not murder. Rather, he demonstrates unqualified affection for his long lost brother (33:4).

Notice the contrast between the greetings of these two brothers. Jacob greets Esau like a servant to his master, but Esau greets Jacob like a brother to his brother. First, he “ran to meet Jacob,” this in contrast to Jacob’s limp. There is an evident eagerness in Esau to meet Jacob. His running to Jacob contrasts with Jacob’s slow approach, bowing himself to the ground. Second, he “embraced Jacob,” in contrast Jacob just “came near” (33:3). Third, Esau “fell on his neck and kissed Jacob,” an ironical reminder of how Jacob had kissed Isaac (27:27). Lastly, “they wept.” This is genuine affection on display, a softness of heart, a demonstration of true reconciliation.

A changed attitude and a changed heart - both of which changes are necessary for reconciliation to take place. The heart is the centre of our emotions and Jesus said that “out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murder…” (Matt. 15:19). That’s where broken relationships start – in the heart. Violent emotions that go unchecked can lead to behavior as egregious as murder.

So, what about your heart? If you are a Christian and you hold bitter feelings against someone, then you need to examine your own heart first. Whenever we experience fractured relationships we need to ensure that we are not holding bitterness in our own hearts, because bitterness eats away like a cancer, which if untreated can kill you - spiritually and emotionally. “See that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble and by it many become defiled” (Heb. 12:15). Bitterness manifests itself in your attitude to others. Bitterness not only eats away at you on the inside but it affects everyone else around you as well. As believers we are united through the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is grieved and his work among us is quenched when our relationships are severed or distant or bitter. I know that reconciliation with someone who has hurt you or whom you have hurt is not easy, because it’s not easy to take the low place. So, I’m not trivializing the process of reconciliation – it includes repentance, confession, forgiveness, and trust. But, what I’m saying is that the process starts with you – with your attitude and your heart.

Apparently Esau has a renewed heart. He has dealt with his bitter feelings against Jacob. His thoughts of murder have changed to feelings of affection. Instead of anger, he exudes warmth and love, embracing and kissing Jacob. The tension is released and “they wept” together. There is nothing quite like love and tears to bring down the walls of disagreement and separation. Tears are good for your own soul. They somehow ameliorate the hurt and sadness and bitterness.

First, then, reconciliation is initiated by inward renewal – renewal of one’s attitude and renewal of one’s heart. Second…

II. Reconciliation Is Expressed In Outward Actions (33:5-20)

1. Reconciliation is expressed by acknowledging God’s grace (33:5-7). Rarely is personal reconciliation limited to one-on-one. Usually it involves others, typically family members. Here Esau extends grace to the entire family. “When Esau lifted up his eyes and saw the women and children he said, ‘Who are these with you?’” (33:5a).

Esau takes the initiative to inquire about the rest of Jacob’s family in this act of reconciliation: “Who are these with you?” This is a very normal question when meeting family members for the first time, especially in the context of reconciliation. Jacob replies, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant” (33:5b). Jacob still does not address Esau as his brother, preferring to emphasize his subservience to him, retaining a formal master and servant relationship. Is this because he felt awkward, embarrassed? Or, is this because he wants to emphasize his change of attitude, no longer seeking to dominate but to serve. Importantly, he attributes his family to a gift of God’s grace. That is exactly what it was – a gift of God’s grace.

One by one the various parties in Jacob’s large family draw near to Esau (33:6-7). First, the servants, Bilhah and Zilpah with their children, then Leah with her children, and finally Rachel with her child, Joseph. They all “bowed down” before Esau (vv. 6, 7b) in an act of respect and family unity.

So, reconciliation is expressed in outward actions. First, reconciliation is expressed by acknowledging God’s grace. Second…

2. Reconciliation is expressed by making restitution (33:8-11). Everything that is happening seems to be overwhelming for Esau – he is flabbergasted. He can’t comprehend what’s going on: “What do you mean by all this company that I met?” (33:8a). He is dumbfounded by the extent of Jacob’s company and the massive quantity of gifts they brought from Jacob (32:13-21). It all appears to be over the top. He can’t comprehend it all. Jacob answers, “To find favor in the sight of my lord” (33:8b). “That’s what this is about, Esau - it’s about restitution. It’s about demonstrating to you that I am deeply sorry for what I did when I stole your birthright. It’s about showing you my repentance in action not just words. I want to find favor in your sight, Esau. That’s what this is about and as a show of goodwill I want to repay you.”

It appears that Jacob wants in some way to repay the blessing that he had stolen from Esau those many years ago. In a gracious response, Esau says: “I have enough, my brother, keep what you have for yourself” (33:9). Notice that Jacob calls Esau “lord” in v. 8, but Esau calls Jacob “brother” in v. 9. Esau clearly wants a closer relationship with Jacob than Jacob wants with him. “Despite what you stole from me, I am well-provided for; I don’t need or want your gifts. I have enough,” Esau replies. Esau evidently bears no revenge, wants no recompense, isn’t looking for financial reward. What he wants is a relationship with his brother.

Jacob insists: 10 No, please, if I have found favor in your sight, then accept my present from my hand. For I have seen your face, which is like seeing the face of God and you have accepted me. 11 Please accept my blessing that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough.” Thus he urged him (Esau), and he took it” (33:10-11). Meeting Esau is likened by Jacob to “seeing the face of God,” which he had seen before at Bethel (28:16-17) and which he had just seen again at the Jabbok (32:22-31). Thus, the blessing that he had received from God there he wants to extend now to his brother. Seeing Esau for the first time in 20 years, he sees a reflection of the grace of God in Esau’s face. Just as he sought a blessing from God at the Jabbok, so now he seeks Esau’s favor and blessing. So, in an act of pure grace, Esau accepts the gifts as a demonstration of his acceptance of his brother, as a token that all is restored between them, as a measure of goodwill. Jacob wants to find favor in Esau’s sight and to bless Esau and Esau accepts Jacob’s gifts on that basis.

Would it were so that all broken relationships were thus restored - that the offender would be so constrained to seek the favor of the offended one; that such brokenness would be manifested by all parties whose relationships have been broken; that such humility and subservience would be shown by all offenders. I appeal to any reader who has cut off someone else’s ear and heart by their behavior and words, bring it to an end now. Do what you have to do to restore the relationship. Start by showing your utter humility, shame, brokenness and your repentance for ever having caused the severance in the first place. Seek the forgiveness and favor of the other person. And pray for God’s grace to overflow into the lives of all the parties and extended families thus affected. It can be done! It has been done! It was done by Jacob and Esau. But it all starts with you - your heart and your attitude.

Reconciliation, then, is initiated by inward renewal and is expressed in outward actions. First, reconciliation is expressed by acknowledging God’s grace. Second, reconciliation is expressed by making restitution. And third…

3. Reconciliation is expressed by acting in kindness (33:12-20). Esau acts kindly in two ways. First, Esau offers to lead the way home: “Let’s journey on our way, and I will go ahead of you” (22:12). This seems to be a genuinely kind gesture by Esau - a desire to go home together, to make their reunion public to the rest of the family; his desire for togetherness, for fellowship with Jacob, a kind and practical expression of permanent reunion. But, in contrast, Jacob is not ready for this. Often there are some practical hesitations in reconciliations. Perhaps things were moving too fast for Jacob. So, he makes the excuse that the children and animals can’t walk at their pace (33:13). Jacob said to him, 14 Let my lord pass on ahead of his servant, and I will lead on slowly, at the pace of the livestock that are ahead of me and at the pace of the children, until I come to my lord in Seir” (33:14). At face value this response seems perfectly logical but there is a hint of the old Jacob here. There is a hint of his suspicion of Esau. Mistrust is very common in those who themselves have been deceptive. Whatever the reason, Jacob refuses to accept Esau’s kindness.

Second, Esau offers to provide protection (33:15): So Esau said, ‘Let me leave with you some of the people who are with me.’” It seems that Esau brought these 400 men with him not to attack Jacob but to protect him on his homeward journey. But Jacob said, “What need is there? Let me find favor in the sight of my lord.” Jacob doesn’t even accept Esau’s offer to have some of his people travel with Jacob and his entourage. Again Esau concedes to Jacob’s resistance. In this dialogue between the two brothers Jacob is still showing the old personality and the old self-will. Even after meeting with God, some personality and behavioral characteristics don’t immediately or easily fall away.

It seems that all along Jacob had other plans (33:16-17). So, instead of keeping his word and following behind Esau and his men at a slower pace (33:14), Jacob doesn’t follow Esau at all. 16 So Esau returned that day on his way to Seir. 17 But Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built himself a house and made booths for his livestock. Therefore the name of the place is called Succoth (33:16-17). Instead of going south with Esau to Seir, Jacob goes north to Succoth where he settles down, building himself a house and shelters for his livestock.

The big question is why? Why didn’t Jacob follow Esau? And why didn’t Jacob tell Esau the truth about not following him? It seems a shame that after all that has happened - after his meeting with God, after his reconciliation with Esau, after Esau’s willingness to forgive and move on with their lives - that the two brothers now go their separate ways. There are some reasonable guesses as to why. Perhaps Jacob thought that some distance between them might be good for their future relationship. That would be reasonable since some relationships - even those that have been genuinely reconciled - are better with some distance between them. The option that I think is the most likely is that God had told him to go to Canaan, not Edom (cf. 31:3). Seir where Esau lived in Edom was not his home, Canaan was. So, to follow Esau would have led him away from Canaan, the land to which God had promised to bring him back. In fact, if you trace Jacob’s route, it seems that he is headed home to Beersheba but gets waylaid at Shechem. If this is the case, then Jacob was right to not go with Esau, but the excuse he gave was deceptive and wrong (33:14).

Now, before you condemn Jacob for this, let me ask you: Have you ever done the same? Have you ever skewed the truth rather than face further conflict? Or, not revealed your true reasons in order to preserve peace? Sometimes it’s wise to not reveal everything in our hearts, but lying is not the way to do it.

What is clear is that Jacob has his own agenda (33:18-20), for eventually he moves on from Succoth and settles in Shechem where he erects an altar and calls it El-Elohe-Israel (33:20). Shechem was the place where Abraham first heard God’s promise about the land (12:6-7). Now, Shechem is where Jacob settles, which, as chapter 34 reveals, turns out to be a bad move. Yes, he is back in Canaan, the land of his ancestors but not in Beersheba among his family as God had directed him (31:3).

Final Remarks

In this meeting between Jacob and Esau we see two dramatically changed men. In Jacob, humility replaces arrogance, submission replaces dominance, and giving replaces taking (as in the birthright and blessing). In Esau, compassion replaces murder, warmth replaces coldness, and acceptance replaces rejection. Wrestling with God at the Jabbok changed Jacob and Esau has changed as well. And by His grace, God can change us too - our character, our attitude, our hearts, and our actions. Jacob’s character was changed from a deceiver to a leader. Jacob’s attitude was changed from arrogance to dependence. Jacob’s heart was changed from self-ambition to submission. And Esau’s character was changed from murder to affection. Esau’s attitude was changed from coldness to warmth. Esau’s heart was changed from hardness to softness.

Has this happened in your life? Most importantly, have you been reconciled to God by the death of his Son? That’s the grace of God in action for sinners who believe (Rom. 5:10). We see this being lived out by Jacob who now attributes everything to God’s grace – his children (33:5) and his wealth (33:11). Note that just as he desperately sought and received God’s blessing so now he seeks and receives Esau’s blessing. By God’s grace, Jacob sees Esau now, not as a brother to be extorted but a brother who reflects the grace of God: “For I have seen your face which is like seeing the face of God” (33:10). Though traces of the old Jacob still remain, by God’s grace Jacob finds his way home to Canaan and settles there.

So, on the one hand, this episode leaves us on a high note - the twin brothers are reconciled and Jacob, the one who ran away, comes back to his homeland with a new identity and a new dependence on God. But on the other hand, this episode leaves us a little uneasy. Jacob has once more separated from Esau and the future in Shechem is not bright. In fact, it will be a massive low point in Jacob’s life.

On this note, we come to the end of the Paddan-aram episode in Jacob’s life. Notice that this episode is bookended by two altars. It started at Bethel where he set up an altar of stones to commemorate that wonderful meeting with God in a vision: “Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it… How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven” (28:16-17). Now in Shechem, he builds another altar which he calls El-Elohe-Israel, the ever-faithful God of his fathers is Israel’s God. The God he had met at Bethel and again at the river Jabbok is indeed his God.

If you were asked to choose which of Esau and Jacob is the hero of this episode, who would it be? Jacob? Amazingly, I don’t think so. I think it is Esau! Who would have guessed how Esau would have received Jacob back into his life as he did, reunited with his twin brother after all those years and all that animosity. In this we see the grace of God in reconciliation…

I. Reconciliation is initiated by inward renewal (33:1-4)

1. Initiated by a renewed attitude (33:1-3)

2. Initiated by a renewed heart (33:4)

II. Reconciliation is expressed in outward actions (33:5-11)

1. … by acknowledging God’s grace (5-7)

2. … by making restitution (8-11)

3. … by acting in kindness (12-20)

Remember our thesis: Reconciliation is made possible through humility and love that are rooted in God’s grace. In this we also learn that God is sovereign. He works out his purposes regardless of our failures. He keeps his promises despite our foolishness.

Related Topics: Character Study, Christian Life

Q. Should pastors really stop giving altar calls?

I read your article on why pastors should stop giving alter calls. Should we really do that no matter what the sermon is about?

Answer

Dear Brother *****,

Thanks for your email. While I have written a number of articles, I do not remember writing that one should not give an altar call. It may well have been one of our other (many) authors on bible.org.

In the church we attended while I was in seminary the primary teacher was sure to give a kind of invitation at the end of every message. I think that is a very good thing to do. All of our teaching and preaching should be tied closely to the gospel.

Having said this, we also need to be careful not to forget: Aside from “He who has ears, let him hear. . .”, Jesus did not give an invitation as such. He challenged his audience to think about what He had said. He clearly called on His disciples to follow Him, but He also discouraged others by urging them to count the cost. Jesus did not water down His teaching to attract followers.

Now when you get to Paul and his presentation in the synagogues and elsewhere, it is all about the gospel, and he does challenge his listeners to believe in Jesus. (He does not call on folks to come forward, as is often the case with us today.)

Paul makes it very clear in 1 Corinthians chapter three that evangelism is not a solo, one-time, event. One sows, another waters, and another harvests. Thus, our presentation of the gospel may be one part of the process that God uses to save the lost.

Thus, any invitation needs to keep the above things in mind.

One additional thought came to mind, which is important. The primary purpose of the church meeting is the edification of the saints, to equip them for the work of ministry (see Ephesians 4). It is apparent from 1 Corinthians 14 that Paul assumed some unbelievers might be present, and he was concerned that the gospel would be clear to them.

One possible danger is that because the pastor gives a brief gospel message with an invitation, that some might wrongly conclude that further evangelistic effort is not as important. That would be the opposite of equipping the saints for the work of ministry, which would surely include sharing the gospel. Any evangelistic efforts from the pulpit should serve to encourage all the saints to share their faith, rather than to “let the Pastor do it.” Every pastor should be clear in his mind that his primary objective is to teach the saints, moving them toward maturity, while reaching the lost is a secondary (but very important) task (see Hebrews 6:1-3).

Blessings,

Bob Deffinbaugh

Related Topics: Ecclesiology (The Church)

The Net Pastor’s Journal, Eng Ed, Issue 45, Fall 2022

A ministry of…

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

I. Strengthening Expository Preaching: Preaching N.T. Gospels, Pt. 4

While preaching N.T. narrative is not nearly as complex from a homiletical standpoint as preaching O.T. narrative, there are still some pitfalls, which sound hermeneutical principles and homiletical methodology will help us avoid.

1. Text Selection. As with any text selection, always preach a complete unit of thought within its context and in line with what the original author intended to communicate. I recommend preaching through entire books of the Bible, rather than picking and choosing unrelated passages each week. In this regard, it is a good practice to write out the structure of the entire book. This gives you a road map for where you are going with your series of sermons and where each unit of thought starts and stops.

Since the Gospels are a collection of episodes, one way to find units of thought in them is to look for a change of place, change of audience, change of message or activity. Those are good indicators of the beginning and end of a unit of thought. Another approach is to ask yourself whether the passage you have selected has a specific, complete, and clear theme within its context.

Generally, it is best to preach an entire unit of thought in one sermon. But, if a unit of thought is too large to cover in one sermon, you might be wise…

Either: To subdivide the entire narrative into episodes and connect each episode to the previous one as you preach them.

Or: To highlight the main points in the passage

Or: To preach the message of the entire episode based on one particular verse or a few verses that encapsulate the idea of the entire passage.

However you decide to preach a unit of thought (whether as a whole or in smaller segments), be careful to still interpret and preach it in a way that is consistent with that entire section of the book and the larger framework of the book as a whole. This is where a structural outline of the book will stand you in good stead.

2. Sermon Series. In some cases, the Gospels can be broken down into separate sermon series very nicely – e.g. …

(1) The Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7).

(2) The three “sevens” of John’s gospel…

a) Seven significant dialogues (discourses) - Jn. 3:1-21; 4:1-42; 7:53-8:11; 13:1-17; 18:33-19:11; 20:1-31; 21:15-25.

b) Seven supernatural deeds (miracles) – Jn. 2:1-11; 4:46-54; 5:1-47; 6:1-14; 6:16-21; 9:1-41; 11:1-44.

c) Seven self-declarations (“I am” statements) – Jn. 6:22-71; 8:12; 10:1-9; 10:10-18; 11:25-27; 14:1-6; 15:1-6.

This way, you can be faithful to the intent of the author but not feel obligated to preach the whole book.

As with any series which doesn’t necessarily follow the author’s sequence, care must be taken to still interpret and apply these messages in accordance with the Gospel as a whole. Goldsworthy suggests that “the structure of the Gospel should at least be in our thinking when planning a series. The series might aim to highlight this structure by showing the succession of emphases and critical points. A series on a group of parables or miracles should bring out their function in the overall plan and purposes of the Gospel” (Goldsworthy, Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture, 231).

3. Articulating the Theme. Narratives have themes, just as didactic passages do. The theme of a text is a statement that expresses the entire theological point of the passage, usually in a single sentence. The theme statement (sometimes called a propositional statement) of a unit of thought then directs the development of the sermon, keeping it consistent with the theme of the selected passage and the theme of the Gospel as a whole. Sometimes the Gospel writers explicitly state the point of a narrative (e.g. Lk. 16:13; Lk. 19:10).

4. The Gospel Narrative Sermon Structure. As with other genres, it is a good principle to structure your sermons in Gospel narratives in a way that respects the literary form of the text such that the literary form shapes your sermon form. Just as every biblical passage has structure, so our sermons must have structure. The structure of the text dictates the structure of the sermon. Thus, just as the form (in this case, narrative form) of the text controls the structure of the text, so the form of the text controls the structure of the sermon. As with other narratives in the Bible, Gospel narratives derive their structure from the “movements’ (or, “scenes”) in the text.

Whatever approach you decide to take in preaching Gospel narratives (including parables), I recommend that you structure your sermons in the same way that you structure any other expository sermon – i.e. with a theme statement that summarizes the narrative as a whole and a sermon outline that expresses the theological points of the narrative as it progresses.

5. Suggestions for Preaching Parables. There are different ways in which you could preach parables such as:

(1) Grouping them by type - e.g. …

(a) Evangelistic parables (e.g. Matt. 7:24-27).

(b) Life in the kingdom parables (e.g. Matt. 13:1-9; Matt. 13:24-30).

(c) Eschatological parables (e.g. Matt. 25 :1-13).

(2) Grouping them by a common theme - e.g. …

a) One’s preparation for eternity - as in the rich farmer (Luke 12:16-21) and the dishonest manager (Lk. 16:1-13).

b) God’s joy in saving lost people - as in the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son (Lk. 15:1-32).

(3) Parallel and contrasting parables – that is, parables with a common subject told from different perspectives. For example, the subject of serving God with the spiritual resources he has given us – e.g. …

a) The ten servants and the ten minas (Lk. 19:11-27).

b) The three servants and the talents (Matt. 25:14-30).

Your overall approach to preaching parables should be to duplicate the original intention of the parable (i.e. to illustrate a particular need or issue) by firstly drawing the audience into the story (i.e. by clarifying their understanding of the parable), and then applying the point of the story to your audience by exposing a contemporary equivalent need or issue with the intent of provoking an appropriate response.

Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself when preparing a sermon on a parable:

(1) What is the overall point / thrust of the parable?

(2) What new perspective or truth does it expose?

(3) Who is the audience - the disciples, the crowd, the religious leaders?

(4) When and how do the hearers see themselves in the story and what reaction does it produce in them?

(5) What literary device does it use? Is it allegorical or metaphorical in its structure and, if so, what is its purpose?

(6) Does the parable present a contrast or comparison? If so, what is the contrast or comparison about and what is its purpose?

(7) What aspect of Jesus’ teaching on the kingdom of God does the parable address?

(8) What are the interpretive challenges in the parable?

(9) What are the progressive scenes in the parable that help you structure your sermon? For example, the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Lk. 16:19-31) develops through two contrasting scenes and discourses:

(i) The contrast of earthly lifestyles (19-21) and eternal destinies (22-23).

(ii) The contrast of eternal rewards and realities (24-31)

Another example is the parable of the prodigal son (Lk. 15:11-32) which develops through four scenes:

(i) The division of the inheritance and departure to a far country (11-13a).

(ii) The plunge into poverty and ignominy (13b-16).

(iii) The realization and return (17-21).

(iv) The repentance and reception (22-32).

(10) How is the story of the parable relevant to your contemporary audience?

After doing all your exegetical and hermeneutical work, start to prepare your sermon. There is great flexibility in form and style for preaching parables. All the options available for preaching narratives apply to preaching parables since they are a subset of narratives, progressing from the setting, to the problem, to the climax, to the resolution.

Given the complexity of parables (i.e. their context; their multiple levels of meaning both literal and allegorical; their purpose; and their application), and given the creativity of the parables themselves, it is wise to preach them with an open mind and some degree of creativity as to sermonic form – e.g. dramatic monologue; identification with a point of view; paraphrase in contemporary language.

Typically, the effectiveness of a parable is due to the fact that the “punch line” doesn’t come until the end, by which time those who might react negatively to its point have been drawn into the story. Because parables hold their “punch line” until the end, it would make sense to preach them that way.

II. Strengthening Biblical Leadership
“The Ministry Of Reconciliation, Pt. 4 (Continued): An Appeal For The Reconciliation Of God’s People To God’s Minister” (2 Cor. 6:11-7:16)

This is the final installment of our study of this passage. In the last two editions of this Journal we have covered 2 Corinthians 6:11-18 (Edition 43, Spring 2022) and 2 Corinthians 7:1-4 (Edition 44, Summer 2022) in which we addressed the first three sections of the passage:

1. A pastoral appeal of love (6:11-13).

2. A pastoral appeal of admonition (6:14-18).

3. The application of the pastoral appeal (7:1-4).

In this edition, we continue with the final section…

4. The Background to, and Outcome of, the Pastoral Appeal (7:5-16). It now becomes clear that the entire passage from 2:14 to 7:4 has been a digression in the flow of thought from 2:13. Let me illustrate it by putting the two sections together: 2:12 When I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ, even though the Lord opened a door for me, 2:13 I had no rest in my spirit because I did not find my brother Titus. Instead, I said good-bye to them and left for Macedonia7:5 In fact, when we came to Macedonia, we had no rest…”. So, picking up the flow of thought from 2:12-13, Paul now explains that when he did not find Titus at Troas as he had expected and having no rest in his spirit, he left Troas for Macedonia hoping to find Titus there, which he did (7:5-6). Paul was anxious to meet up with Titus in order to receive news from him about his own well-being and that of the Corinthians, including, most importantly, their response to his “sorrowful / grievous letter” which Titus had delivered to them. He now recounts his reunion with Titus in Macedonia and the comfort he received from Titus’ report (7:7-16).

A question that arises is: Why did Paul take such a long digression from 2:14 to 7:4? Some have proposed that 2:14 to 7:4 is, in fact, an insertion from another letter, but such, I think, is not the case. Others argue that this is the way letters are written – they do not necessarily follow a systematic, logical pattern. While this is true, it is not, I think, the case here. While the extended passage from 2:14 and 7:4 is a digression, it is by no means disconnected, as some would assert, from the main flow of thought. Indeed, Paul’s account of his meeting with Titus forms the background for his appeals and instructions to the Corinthians in the digression. It helps our understanding of this digression to remember that it was written after the fact as this background to the pastoral appeal makes clear. Paul already knew what Titus had reported back to him when he wrote the digression. So, the digression shows us that, on the one hand Paul is elated by Titus’ report, but, on the other hand he evidently still had issues to resolve at Corinth. God certainly provides the minister with joy and victories in ministry, but at the same time victory in ministry is not without its challenges.

Ultimately, Paul learns from Titus that his sorrowful letter to the Corinthians achieved a wonderfully positive outcome as follows:

(a) Paul’s dejection about his circumstances turns to comfort by Titus’ fellowship (7:5-6). 5 In fact, when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest. Instead, we were troubled in every way: conflicts on the outside, fears within. 6 But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the arrival of Titus.” Paul’s bodily and mental tribulations continued when he arrived in Macedonia (cf. 4:8-9; 11:22-33). He faced external “conflicts” (perhaps spiritual attacks; perhaps physical) and internal “fears” (perhaps anxiety about how the Corinthians may have received Titus and Paul’s letter, especially since Titus had not returned as expected.

Ministers are not immune to calamities, opposition, and worries, “but God” makes all the difference. He “comforts the downcast” (cf. 1:3-7; cf. Ps. 34:18) and he comforted Paul in this instance. In the midst of his external conflicts and internal fears, Paul was comforted “by the arrival of Titus” (6b) – by the knowledge of his safety and by the personal reunion with his colleague in ministry, especially in the light of the opposition and loneliness that he had experienced. It is a great encouragement in ministry to have colleagues from whom you can receive comfort in hard times and with whom you can enjoy fellowship.

Thus, Paul’s dejection about his circumstances turns to comfort by Titus’ arrival and fellowship with him. And…

(b) Paul’s sorrow about their sin changes to joy by their response (7:7-13a). “…and (we were comforted) not only by his arrival but also by the comfort he received from you. He told us about your deep longing, your sorrow, and your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more” (2 Cor. 7:7). Paul was encouraged by their response to Titus – “…by the comfort (consolation) he received from you.”

Paul was comforted (7:7a) by the fact that Titus and the letter he brought from Paul had been well received by the church at Corinth, that his colleague in ministry had been well treated by them, and that their response to Titus’ mission (viz. the delivery of Paul’s letter) was positive. This was a source of great comfort to Paul. And Paul “rejoiced even more” in their response to him.

First, he rejoices even more because of their response to him personally (7:7b) as indicated in:

(i) “…your deep longing… for me.” They wanted to see Paul and, presumably, put things right, renew relationships.

(ii) “…your mourning… for me.” They were evidently sorry for what had happened.

(iii) “…your zeal for me.” Now their relational distance from Paul is replaced by a zeal for him - to do what he had instructed them and, perhaps, even to defend him.

Second, he rejoices even more because of their response to him spiritually (7:8-12). Paul seems to have struggled with how to handle this: For even if I grieved you with my letter, I don’t regret it. And if I regretted it—since I saw that the letter grieved you, yet only for a while – I now rejoice…” (7:8-9a). On the one hand Paul seems to have initially regretted writing them the “sorrowful” letter, for he did not want to cause them grief. Why is this? Perhaps he did not want them to respond the wrong way to his letter. Perhaps he was afraid of being overly harsh and losing their ear. Perhaps he struggled, as their pastor, with addressing the issue on the one hand, and yet not wanting to lose their relationship on the other hand.

These are always the risks of confrontation and the struggle that pastors face - knowing what needs to be done and yet risking rejection. That’s why we always need to “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15), never “lord it” over others (1 Pet. 5:3), never trample on people either in anger or in spiritual superiority. But once he had written to them, he was glad that he had done so because their sorrow was short-lived, “only for a while” (7:8b), and because their sorrow led to repentance - I now rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because your grief led to repentance” (7:9a).

Why did their grief lead to repentance? For you were grieved as God willed” (7:9b). Their sorrow over what had happened (in the sin that was allowed among them and in their relationship with Paul) was sorrow that was according to God's will, produced by God. This wasn’t just a momentary feeling of regret, but a deep work of God in them. The result of grieving as God willed was so that you didn’t experience any loss from us” (7:9c). Sorrow that is according to God is not without purpose - it does not have a negative effect; it does not result in severed relationships (as Paul may have worried); it does not deprive them of anything but rather gives back what was lost. No, it is in every way beneficial – it gives hope, restores joy, reconciles relationships etc. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, but worldly grief produces death (7:10). This is the ministry of reconciliation, which has as its object “godly grief” that results in “repentance that leads to salvation without regret.”

“Godly grief” has an entirely different cause and result than “worldly grief. Worldly grief leads to death (cf. 2 Cor. 2:16) whereas godly grief leads to life. That’s the contrast. Worldly grief is caused by circumstances (loss, failure etc.); godly grief is caused by sin. Worldly grief results in severed relationships, despair, perhaps even death (e.g. suicide); godly grief results in salvation, life, peace of conscience, joy, restored relationships, reconciliation.

“Godly grief” is sorrow not for self but toward God. It is (lit.) “grief according to God” – “as God wills” (7:11a) - grief produced by God and in response to God. Hence, godly grief leads to genuine repentance for sin - a turning away from sin that causes disruption in our relationship with God and a turning toward God in faith - and it seeks reconciliation with God and with one’s fellow human beings. This type of grief and repentance is the foundation of our salvation.

“Worldly grief,” on the other hand, is non-restorative. It cannot restore what is lost. It cannot undo what is done. It cannot give rest of conscience and peace. It cannot give spiritual life. It only produces bitterness, guilt, despair, and regret. But godly grief is a sorrow over sin which produces repentance and leads to salvation, which one never regrets, because it results in a restored relationship with God. Moreover, the result of godly grief is that you do not live the rest of your life in a state of regret for what might have been. Rather, the salvation and restoration of your relationship with God and each other is of such a nature that you never regret making that decision.

But why does Paul speak of such repentance in terms of leading to “salvation” when he is addressing believers? He is speaking of the “repentance” of these believers, the nature of which “leads to salvation.” Though they were Christians and were saved, their repentance was of the same nature as that which they originally expressed when they were saved. Paul is not suggesting that they were saved and lost and now saved again, but rather that their repentance was a true indication of their salvation; it fully restored them to a right relationship with God.

A minister of reconciliation works toward and looks for godly sorrow expressed in genuine, saving repentance. He deals with confrontation in such a way that it produces godly sorrow which (i) does not sever their relationship; and (ii) effects a permanent, spiritual result.

Now Paul describes what grief according to God (in a godly manner) is truly like; what changes it produces; what the nature of true repentance looks like: For consider how much diligence this very thing—this grieving as God wills—has produced in you” (7:11a). Genuine repentance produces an entire transformation in the way one thinks and acts. The Corinthians now have an earnestness to do what is right before God. Instead of passively observing sinful behavior among them and boasting about it, they are now energized to act for God. How is that earnestness, this diligence expressed in their practice and attitude? Paul gives seven characteristics…

i) “What a desire to clear yourselves” (7:11b) – the church is cleared of complicity in this sin.

ii) “what indignation” (7:11c) – anger at sin. They now saw it for what it was and they were righteously indignant that it had happened among them and they had tolerated it. That’s what we should be angry about – sin!

iii) “What fear” (7:11d) – fear of God's chastisement; fear that God's holiness had been offended; fear of what they had done to “God's minister”; fear of where their course of action may have led.

iv) “What deep longing” (7:11e) – a longing to be reconciled with God and with Paul face to face; to see him, to be submissive to him, and to be obedient to his teaching. They longed for the former days and their relationship with God and Paul.

v) “What zeal” (7:11f) - probably zeal for doing what they should have done in the first place, namely, eagerness to exercise discipline in the church; readiness to put things right; a passion for holiness and obedience.

vi) “What justice!” (7:11g) – the action taken against the sin done among them. This carries on from “zeal” to put things right in the church. This is consistent with Paul’s comment in 2:5-11 that they were so zealous of punishing the offender that now they needed to forgive him.

vii) Indeed, “in every way you showed yourselves to be pure in this matter” (7:11h) - probably the matter in 1 Cor. 5:1ff. but Paul does not state it explicitly. They had done what was necessary in the exercise of discipline in the assembly and this “cleared” them. They were no longer partakers of that man’s sin.

Picking up on his remarks in 7:8 about the sorrowful (grievous) letter, Paul now explains why he wrote it in the first place: 12 So even though I wrote to you, it was not because of the one who did wrong, or because of the one who was wronged, but in order that your devotion to us might be made plain to you in the sight of God. 13a For this reason we have been comforted” (7:12-13a).

First, he explains why he did not write the severe letter. He did not write the severe letter for the sake of “the one who did wrong” - the son who had committed incest with his stepmother; the one whose excommunication Paul had ordered (1 Cor. 5:13); the one who had caused so much pain but who had subsequently repented (2 Cor. 2:1-8). And he did not write the severe letter for the sake of “the one who was wronged” – presumably, the husband of the stepmother. Notice that, with pastoral wisdom and grace, Paul does not use names – the issue is over and there is no benefit in dragging people’s names through the mud. He merely refers to them as “the one who did wrong” and “the one who was wronged”.

Then, he explains why he did write the severe letter. He wrote the severe letter so that, in the presence of God, they might become aware of how much they really cared for Paul, their earnestness for him. That is exactly the result his severe letter achieved. And because of all this (his letter, their response, the impact on the church, Titus’ report etc.), “we have been comforted.”

(c) Paul’s boasting about them proves true by Titus’ encouragement (7:13b-16). 13b In addition to our own comfort, we rejoiced even more over the joy Titus had, because his spirit was refreshed by all of you. 14 For if I have made any boast to him about you, I have not been disappointed; but as I have spoken everything to you in truth, so our boasting to Titus has also turned out to be the truth” (7:13b-14).

Throughout this section, Paul is looking on the positive side of things (their response, Titus’ encouragement, his joy etc.), despite the underlying evidence that he still had issues to deal with at Corinth - e.g. their challenge to Paul’s authority etc. (see chapters 10-13). Despite all of that, Paul is comforted by what has happened at Corinth (particularly, their response to his severe letter) and even more comforted by Titus’ joy over the refreshment he received from them while delivering the letter.

Paul’s grace and pastoral love for the Corinthians becomes very evident. One would hardly expect him, in view of everything they had done and said about him, that he would actually boast about them to Titus. But rather than send Titus to them with a bad impression of them or to carry out harsh measures, he had sent Titus to Corinth with a positive commendation of them (boasting), which had proved true, just as everything he had said to them was true. As a result (i) Titus’ love for them is deepened: And his affection toward you is even greater as he remembers the obedience of all of you, and how you received him with fear and trembling” (7:15); and (ii) Paul’s confidence in them is strengthened: I rejoice that I have complete confidence in you” (7:16). After having strengthened their mutual relationship and expressed his confidence in them, he then takes up the matter of the offering for the poor believers in Jerusalem in chapters 8-9.

III. Sermon Outlines

Title: Learning from Jesus - The Treasure of the Kingdom (Matt. 13:44-46)

Subject: Discovering the eternal riches of God's kingdom

Theme: You discover eternal riches when you enter the kingdom of heaven through Jesus Christ.

Point I. Some people unexpectedly stumble on the treasure of Christ’s kingdom (13:44).

Point II. Some people diligently search for the treasure of Christ’s kingdom (13:45-46).

Related Topics: Pastors

La Revue Internet Des Pasteurs, Fre Ed 45, Edition de l’automne 2022

Un ministère de…

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

I. Renforcement De La Prédication Par Exposition : Prêcher Les Evangiles Du N.T., Pt. 4

Alors que prêcher le récit du N.T. n'est pas aussi complexe d'un point de vue homilétique que prêcher récit de l'AT., il y a tout de même des pièges, que des principes herméneutiques solides et une méthodologie homilétique nous aideront à éviter.

1. Sélection de Texte. Comme pour toute sélection de texte, prêchez toujours une unité de pensée complète dans son contexte et conforme à ce que l'auteur original avait l'intention de communiquer. Je recommande de prêcher à travers des livres entiers de la Bible, plutôt que de choisir des passages sans rapport chaque semaine. À cet égard, il est recommandé d'écrire la structure de l'ensemble du livre. Cela vous donne une feuille de route pour savoir où vous allez avec votre série de sermons et où chaque unité de pensée commence et s'arrête.

Puisque les évangiles sont une collection d'épisodes, une façon d'y trouver des unités de pensée est de rechercher un changement de lieu, un changement d'audience, un changement de message ou d'activité. Ce sont de bons indicateurs de début et de fin d'une unité de pensée. Une autre approche consiste à vous demander si le passage que vous avez sélectionné à un thème spécifique, complet et clair dans son contexte.

Généralement, il est préférable de prêcher une unité entière de pensée en un sermon. Mais, si une unité de pensée est trop grande pour être couverte en un seul sermon, vous pourriez être sage …

Soit : Subdiviser l'ensemble du récit en épisodes et relier chaque épisode au précédent au fur et à mesure que vous les prêchez.

Ou : Souligner les points principaux du passage

Ou : Prêcher le message de l'épisode entier en vous basant sur un verset particulier ou quelques versets qui résument l'idée du passage entier.

Quelle que soit la manière dont vous décidez de prêcher une unité de pensée (que ce soit dans son ensemble ou en plus segments petits), veillez à toujours l'interpréter et à la prêcher d'une manière cohérente avec cette section entière du livre et le cadre plus large du livre en tant qu’ensemble. C'est là qu'un aperçu de la structure du livre vous sera très utile.

2. Séries de Sermon. Dans certains cas, les évangiles peuvent très bien être décomposés en séries de sermons distincts. – ex : …

(1) Le Sermon sur la montagne (Matt. 5-7).

(2) Les trois "sept" de l'évangile de Jean …

a) Sept dialogues significatifs (discours) - Jn. 3 :1-21 ; 4 :1-42 ; 7 :53-8 :11 ; 13 :1-17 ; 18 :33-19 :11 ; 20 :1-31 ; 21 :15-25.

b) Sept actions surnaturelles (miracles) – Jn. 2 :1-11 ; 4 :46-54 ; 5 :1-47 ; 6 :1-14 ; 6 :16-21 ; 9 :1-41 ; 11 :1-44.

c) Sept auto-déclarations (déclarations "je suis") – Jn. 6 :22-71 ; 8 :12 ; 10 :1-9 ; 10 :10-18 ; 11 :25-27 ; 14 :1-6 ; 15 :1-6.

De cette façon, vous pouvez être fidèle à l'intention de l'auteur mais ne pas vous sentir obligé de prêcher tout le livre.

Comme pour toute série qui ne suit pas nécessairement la séquence de l'auteur, il faut veiller à toujours interpréter et appliquer ces messages conformément à l'Évangile dans son ensemble. Goldsworthy suggère que «la structure de l'Évangile devrait au moins être dans notre réflexion lors de la planification d'une série. La série pourrait viser à mettre en évidence cette structure en montrant la succession des accents et des points critiques. Une série sur un groupe de paraboles ou de miracles devrait faire ressortir leur fonction dans le plan général et les objectifs de l'Evangile » (Goldsworthy, Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture, 231).

3. Articuler le thème. Les récits ont des thèmes, tout comme les passages didactiques. Le thème d'un texte est une déclaration qui exprime tout le point théologique du passage, généralement en une seule phrase. L'énoncé du thème (parfois appelé énoncé propositionnel) d'une unité de pensée dirige alors le développement du sermon, en le maintenant en cohérence avec le thème du passage choisi et le thème de l'Évangile dans son ensemble. Parfois, les évangélistes énoncent explicitement le but d'un récit (ex : Lc. 16 :13 ; Lc. 19 :10).

4. La structure du sermon d’un récit de l'Évangile. Comme pour les autres genres, c'est un bon principe de structurer vos sermons dans les récits évangéliques d'une manière qui respecte la forme littéraire du texte de sorte que la forme littéraire façonne votre forme de sermon. Tout comme chaque passage biblique a une structure, nos sermons doivent avoir une structure. La structure du texte dicte la structure du sermon. Ainsi, tout comme la forme (dans ce cas, la forme narrative) du texte contrôle la structure du texte, la forme du texte contrôle la structure du sermon. Comme pour les autres récits de la Bible, les récits évangéliques tirent leur structure des « mouvements » (ou « scènes ») du texte.

Quelle que soit l'approche que vous décidez d'adopter dans la prédication des récits des évangiles (y compris les paraboles), je vous recommande de structurer vos sermons de la même manière que vous structurez tout autre sermon par exposition - c'est-à-dire avec un énoncé du thème qui résume le récit dans son ensemble et un plan de sermon qui exprime les points théologiques du récit au fur et à mesure de sa progression.

5. Suggestions pour la prédication des parables. Il y a différentes manières de prêcher les paraboles telles que :

(1) Les regrouper par type – ex : …

(a) Paraboles évangéliques (ex : Matt. 7 :24-27).

(b) Paraboles sur la vie dans le royaume (ex : Matt. 13 :1-9 ; Matt. 13 :24-30).

(c) Paraboles eschatologiques (ex : Matt. 25 :1-13).

(2) Les regrouper par un thème commun – ex : …

a) La préparation de soi pour l'éternité - comme chez le riche fermier (Lc 12 :16-21) et le gestionnaire malhonnête (Lc. 16 :1-13).

b) La joie de Dieu de sauver des personnes perdues - comme dans la brebis perdue, la pièce perdue et le fils perdu (Lc. 15 :1-32).

(3) Paraboles parallèles et contrastées – c'est-à-dire des paraboles avec un sujet commun racontées sous des angles différents. Par exemple, le sujet de servir Dieu avec les ressources spirituelles qu'il nous a données – ex : …

a) Les dix serviteurs et les dix mines (Lc. 19 :11-27).

b) Les trois serviteurs et les talents (Matt. 25 :14-30).

Votre approche globale de la prédication des paraboles devrait être de dupliquer l'intention originale de la parabole (c'est-à-dire d'illustrer un besoin ou un problème particulier) en attirant d'abord le public dans l'histoire (c'est-à-dire en clarifiant leur compréhension de la parabole), puis en appliquant le point de l'histoire à votre public en exposant un besoin ou un problème contemporain équivalent avec l'intention de provoquer une réponse appropriée.

Voici quelques questions utiles à vous poser lors de la préparation d'un sermon sur une parabole :

(1) Quel est le point général / l'idée maîtresse de la parabole ?

(2) Quelle nouvelle perspective ou vérité expose-t-elle ?

(3) Qui en sont les auditeurs - les disciples, la foule, les chefs religieux ?

(4) Quand et comment les auditeurs se voient-ils dans l'histoire et quelle réaction produit-elle en eux ?

(5) Quel dispositif littéraire utilise-t-elle ? Est-elle allégorique ou métaphorique dans sa structure et, si oui, quel en est le but ?

(6) La parabole présente-t-elle un contraste ou une comparaison ? Si oui, quel est le contraste ou la comparaison et quel en est le but ?

(7) Quel aspect de l'enseignement de Jésus sur le royaume de Dieu la parabole aborde-t-elle ?

(8) Quels sont les défis d'interprétation de la parabole ?

(9) Quelles sont les scènes progressives de la parabole qui vous aident à structurer votre sermon ? Par exemple, la parabole de l'homme riche et de Lazare (Lc 16 :19-31) se développe à travers deux scènes et discours contrastés :

(i) Le contraste des modes de vie terrestres (19-21) et des destinées éternelles (22-23).

(ii) Le contraste des récompenses éternelles et des réalités (24-31)

Un autre exemple est la parabole du fils prodigue (Lc 15 :11-32) qui se développe à travers quatre scènes :

(i) Le partage de l'héritage et le départ vers un pays lointain (11-13a).

(ii) L’immersion dans la pauvreté et l'ignominie (13b-16).

(iii) La prise de conscience et le retour (17-21).

(iv) Le repentir et l'accueil (22-32).

(10) En quoi l'histoire de la parabole est-elle pertinente pour votre public contemporain ?

Après avoir fait tout votre travail exégétique et herméneutique, commencez à préparer votre sermon. Il y a une grande flexibilité dans la forme et le style pour prêcher des paraboles. Toutes les options valables pour la prédication des récits s'appliquent à la prédication des paraboles, puisqu'il s'agit d'un sous-ensemble des récits, progressant du cadre à la résolution en passant par le problème et le point culminant.

Etant donné la complexité des paraboles (c'est-à-dire leur contexte ; leurs multiples niveaux de sens à la fois littéraux et allégoriques ; leur objectif ; et leur application), et étant donné la créativité des paraboles elles-mêmes, il est sage de les prêcher avec un esprit ouvert et un certain degré de créativité quant à la forme de sermon - par ex : un monologue dramatique ; identification avec un point de vue ; paraphrase en langage contemporain.

En règle générale, l'efficacité d'une parabole est due au fait que le « point culminant » n'arrive qu'à la fin, moment auquel ceux qui pourraient réagir négativement à son propos ont été entraînés dans l'histoire. Parce que les paraboles tiennent leur « point culminant » jusqu'à la fin, il serait logique de les prêcher de cette façon.

II. Renforcement Du Leadership Biblique
« Le Ministère De La Réconciliation, Pt. 4 (Suite) : Un Appel Pour La Réconciliation Du Peuple De Dieu Avec Le Ministre De Dieu » (2 Cor. 6 :11-7 :16)

Ceci est le dernier épisode de notre étude de ce passage. Dans les deux dernières éditions de ce Journal, nous avons couvert 2 Corinthiens 6 : 11-18 (édition 43, printemps 2022) et 2 Corinthiens 7 : 1-4 (édition 44, été 2022) dans lesquels nous avons abordé les trois premières sections du passage :

1. Un appel pastoral d'amour (6 :11-13).

2. Un appel pastoral d'avertissement (6 :14-18).

3. L'application de l'appel pastoral (7 :1-4).

Dans cette édition, nous continuons avec la dernière section…

4. Contexte et résultat de l'appel pastoral (7 :5-16). Il devient maintenant clair que tout le passage de 2 :14 à 7 :4 a été une digression dans le flux de pensée de 2 :13. Permettez-moi de l'illustrer en mettant les deux sections ensemble : 2 :12 Au reste, lorsque je fus arrivé à Troas pour l’Evangile de Christ, quoique le Seigneur m’y eût ouvert une porte, 2 :13 je n’eus point de repos d’esprit, parce que je ne trouvai pas Tite, mon frère. C’est pourquoi, ayant pris congé d’eux, je partis pour la Macédoine.7 :5 Car, depuis notre arrivée en Macédoine, notre chair n’eut aucun repos…”. Ainsi, reprenant le flux de pensée de 2 : 12-13, Paul explique maintenant que lorsqu'il n'a pas trouvé Tite à Troas comme il l'avait prévu et n'ayant pas de repos dans son esprit, il a quitté Troas pour la Macédoine dans l'espoir d'y trouver Tite, ce qu'il a fait (7 :5-6). Paul était impatient de rencontrer Tite afin de recevoir de lui des nouvelles de son propre bien-être et de celui des Corinthiens, y compris, surtout, leur réponse à sa « lettre attristant » que Tite leur avait remise. Il raconte maintenant ses retrouvailles avec Tite en Macédoine et le réconfort qu'il a reçu du rapport de Titus (7 :7-16).

Une question qui se pose est : pourquoi Paul a-t-il fait une si longue digression de 2 :14 à 7 :4 ? Certains ont proposé que 2 :14 à 7 :4 est, en fait, une insertion d'une autre lettre, mais tel, je pense, n'est pas le cas. D'autres soutiennent que c'est ainsi que les lettres sont écrites - elles ne suivent pas nécessairement un schéma systématique et logique. Bien que cela soit vrai, ce n'est pas, je pense, le cas ici. Alors que le passage étendu de 2 :14 et 7 :4 est une digression, il n'est en aucun cas déconnecté, comme certains l'affirmeraient, du courant principal de la pensée. En effet, le récit de Paul sur sa rencontre avec Tite constitue la toile de fond de ses appels et instructions aux Corinthiens dans la digression. Cela aide notre compréhension de cette digression pour se rappeler qu'elle a été écrite après coup, comme le montre clairement cet arrière-plan de l'appel pastoral. Paul savait déjà ce que Tite lui avait rapporté quand il a écrit la digression. Ainsi, la digression nous montre que, d'une part, Paul est ravi par le rapport de Titus, mais, d'autre part, il avait évidemment encore des problèmes à résoudre à Corinthe. Dieu fournit certainement au ministre de la joie et des victoires dans le ministère, mais en même temps, la victoire dans le ministère n'est pas sans défis.

En fin de compte, Paul apprend de Tite que sa lettre attristant aux Corinthiens a abouti à un résultat merveilleusement positif comme suit :

(a) Le découragement de Paul à propos de sa situation se transforme en réconfort grâce à la communion de Tite (7 :5-6). 5 Car, depuis notre arrivée en Macédoine, notre chair n’eut aucun repos ; nous étions affligés de toute manière : luttes au dehors, craintes au dedans. 6Mais Dieu, qui console ceux qui sont abattus, nous a consolés par l’arrivée de Tite. Les tribulations corporelles et mentales de Paul continuèrent lorsqu'il arriva en Macédoine (cf. 4 :8-9 ; 11 :22-33). Il a fait face à des « conflits » externes (peut-être des attaques spirituelles ; peut-être physiques) et à des « peurs » internes (peut-être de l'anxiété quant à la façon dont les Corinthiens auraient pu recevoir la lettre de Tite et Paul, d'autant plus que Tite n'était pas revenu comme prévu.

Les serviteurs de Dieu ne sont pas à l'abri des calamités, de l'opposition et des soucis, « mais Dieu » fait toute la différence. Il « console les affligés » (cfr. 1 :3-7 ; cf. Ps. 34 :18) et il a consolé Paul dans ce cas. Au milieu de ses conflits extérieurs et de ses peurs intérieures, Paul a été réconforté « par l'arrivée de Tite » (6b) - par la réalisant qu’il était en sécurité et par la retrouvaille personnelle avec son collègue dans le ministère, surtout à la lumière de l'opposition et de la solitude qu'il a vécue. C'est un grand encouragement dans le ministère que d'avoir des collègues dont vous pouvez recevoir du réconfort dans les moments difficiles et avec qui vous pouvez jouir de la communion.

Ainsi, le découragement de Paul au sujet de sa situation se transforme en réconfort par l'arrivée de Tite et sa communion avec lui. Et …

(b) Le chagrin de Paul à propos de leur péché se transforme en joie par leur réponse (7 :7-13a). “…Mais, outre notre consolation, nous avons été réjouis beaucoup plus encore par la joie de Tite, dont l’esprit a été tranquillisé par vous tous. Il nous a raconté votre ardent désir, vos larmes, votre zèle pour moi, en sorte que ma joie a été d’autant plus grande.” (2 Cor. 7 :7). Paul a été encouragé par leur réponse à Tite – “…par la consolation que Tite lui-même ressentait à votre sujet.”

Paul a été réconforté (7 : 7a) par le fait que Tite et la lettre qu'il avait apportée de Paul avaient été bien accueillis par l'église de Corinthe, que son collègue dans le ministère avait été bien traité par eux et que leur réponse à la mission de Tite (c'est-à-dire la remise de la lettre de Paul) était positive. Ce fut une source de grand réconfort pour Paul. Et Paul "s’est réjoui encore plus" de leur réponse à lui.

First, he rejoices even more because of their response to him personally (7:7b) as indicated in:

(i) « …votre zèle …pour moi. » Ils voulaient voir Paul et, vraisemblablement, arranger les choses, renouer des relations.

(ii) « …votre tristesse… pour moi. » Ils étaient évidemment désolés de ce qui s'était passé.

(iii) “…votre zèle pour moi.” Maintenant, leur distance relationnelle avec Paul est remplacée par un zèle pour lui - pour faire ce qu'il leur avait demandé et, peut-être, même pour le défendre.

Deuxièmement, il se réjouit encore plus à cause de leur réponse envers lui spirituellement (7 :8-12). Paul semble avoir eu du mal à gérer cela : « Quoique je vous aie attristés par ma lettre, je ne m’en repens pas. Et, si je m’en suis repenti, car je vois que cette lettre vous a attristés, bien que momentanément, - je me réjouis à cette heure, … » (7 :8-9a). D'une part, Paul semble avoir d'abord regretté de leur avoir écrit la lettre « douloureuse », car il ne voulait pas leur causer de chagrin. Pourquoi cela ? Peut-être ne voulait-il pas qu'ils répondent de la mauvaise manière à sa lettre. Peut-être avait-il peur d'avoir été trop dur et de perdre leur attention. Peut-être qu'il a eu du mal, en tant que pasteur, à résoudre le problème d'une part, tout en ne voulant perdre leur relation d'autre part.

Ce sont toujours là les risques de confrontation et de lutte auxquels les pasteurs sont confrontés - sachant ce qui doit être fait et pourtant risquant d'être rejetés. C'est pourquoi nous devons toujours « dire la vérité avec amour » (Éph. 4 : 15), ne jamais « dominer » les autres (1 Pierre 5 : 3), ne jamais piétiner les gens, que ce soit par colère ou par supériorité spirituelle. Mais une fois qu'il leur eut écrit, il fut content de l'avoir fait parce que leur chagrin fut de courte durée, « seulement pour un temps » (7 :8b), et parce que leur chagrin conduisit à la repentance. – « je me réjouis à cette heure, non pas de ce que vous avez été attristés, mais de ce que votre tristesse vous a portés à la repentance » (7 :9a).

Pourquoi leur chagrin a-t-il conduit à la repentance ? « Car vous avez été attristés selon Dieu. » (7 :9b). Leur tristesse pour ce qui s'était passé (dans le péché qui était permis parmi eux et dans leur relation avec Paul) était une tristesse selon la volonté de Dieu, produite par Dieu. Ce n'était pas seulement un sentiment momentané de regret, mais une profonde œuvre de Dieu en eux. Le résultat de la tristesse comme Dieu l'a voulu était « afin de ne recevoir de notre part aucun dommage. » (7 :9c). La tristesse qui est selon Dieu n'est pas sans but - elle n'a pas d'effet négatif ; cela n'aboutit pas à des relations rompues (comme Paul l'a peut-être inquiété) ; il ne les prive de rien, mais rend plutôt ce qui a été perdu. Non, c'est bénéfique à tous points de vue - ça donne de l'espoir, redonne de la joie, réconcilie les relations, etc. En effet, la tristesse selon Dieu produit une repentance à salut dont on ne se repent jamais, tandis que la tristesse du monde produit la mort. (7 :10). C'est le ministère de la réconciliation, qui a pour objet “la tristesse selon Dieu” mène au monde. « En effet, la tristesse selon Dieu produit une repentance à salut dont on ne se repent jamais. »

“La tristesse selon Dieu” a une cause et un résultat entièrement différents de la « tristesse se le monde. » La tristesse selon monde mène à la mort (cf. 2 Cor. 2 :16) tandis que la tristesse selon Dieu mène à la vie. C'est le contraste. La tristesse selon le monde est causée par les circonstances (perte, échec, etc.) ; la tristesse selon Dieu est causée par le péché. La tristesse selon le monde entraîne des relations rompues, le désespoir, peut-être même la mort (par exemple, le suicide) ; la tristesse selon Dieu aboutit au salut, à la vie, à la paix du cœur, à la joie, aux relations restaurées, à la réconciliation.

« La tristesse selon Dieu » n’est une tristesse pour soi mais envers Dieu. C’est (lit.) une « tristesse selon Dieu »« selon Dieu » (7 :11a) – une tristesse produite par Dieu et en réponse à Dieu. Par conséquent, la tristesse selon Dieu conduit à une véritable repentance du péché - un détournement du péché qui perturbe notre relation avec Dieu et un retour à Dieu dans la foi - et elle recherche la réconciliation avec Dieu et avec ses semblables. Ce type de tristesse et de repentir est le fondement de notre salut.

D’autre part, « la tristesse selon le monde, » ne restaure pas. Il ne peut pas restaurer ce qui est perdu. Il ne peut pas défaire ce qui est fait. Il ne peut donner le repos de la conscience et la paix. Il ne peut pas donner la vie spirituelle. Elle ne produit que de l'amertume, de la culpabilité, du désespoir et du regret. Mais la tristesse selon Dieu est une tristesse pour le péché qui produit la repentance et conduit au salut, que l'on ne regrette jamais, car il en résulte une relation restaurée avec Dieu. De plus, le résultat de la tristesse selon Dieu est que vous ne vivez pas le reste de votre vie dans un état de regret pour ce qui aurait pu se passer. Au contraire, le salut et la restauration de votre relation avec Dieu et les uns avec les autres sont telles que vous ne regrettez jamais d'avoir pris cette décision.

Mais pourquoi Paul parle-t-il d'une telle repentance en disant qu’elle conduit au « salut » alors qu'il s'adresse à des aux croyants ? Il parle de la « repentance » de ces croyants, dont la nature « conduit au salut ». Bien qu'ils soient chrétiens et qu'ils aient été sauvés, leur repentance était de la même nature que celle qu'ils ont exprimée à l'origine lorsqu'ils ont été sauvés. Paul ne suggère pas qu'ils ont été sauvés et perdus et maintenant à nouveau sauvés, mais plutôt que leur repentance était une véritable indication de leur salut ; elle les a entièrement restaurés à une bonne relation avec Dieu.

Un ministre de la réconciliation travaille et recherche la tristesse selon Dieu exprimée dans une repentance authentique et salvatrice. Il traite la confrontation de telle manière qu'elle produit une tristesse selon Dieu qui (i) ne rompt pas leur relation ; et (ii) produit un résultat spirituel permanent.

Maintenant, Paul décrit à quoi ressemble vraiment la tristesse selon Dieu (d'une manière pieuse) ; quels changements elle produit ; à quoi ressemble la nature de la vraie repentance : « Et voici, cette même tristesse selon Dieu, quel empressement n’a-t-elle pas produit en vous ! » (7 :11a). La repentance authentique produit une transformation complète dans la façon dont on pense et agit. Les Corinthiens ont maintenant la faculté de faire ce qui est juste devant Dieu. Au lieu d'observer passivement un comportement pécheur parmi eux et de s'en vanter, ils sont maintenant stimulés à agir pour Dieu. Comment ce sérieux, cette diligence s'exprime-t-il dans leur pratique et leur attitude ? Paul donne sept caractéristiques…

i) « Quelle justification » (7 :11b) – l'église est innocentée de complicité dans ce péché.

ii) « Quelle indignation » (7 :11c) – colère contre le péché. Ils le voyaient maintenant pour ce que c'était et ils étaient justement indignés que cela se soit produit parmi eux et qu'ils l'aient toléré. C'est pour ça que nous devrions être en colère - le péché !

iii) « Quelle crainte » (7 :11d) – crainte du châtiment de Dieu ; crainte que la sainteté de Dieu ait été offensée ; la crainte de ce qu'ils avaient fait au « serviteur de Dieu » ; la crainte de savoir où le cours de leur d'action a pu mener.

iv) « Quel désir ardent » (7 :11e) – un désir de se réconcilier avec Dieu et avec Paul face à face ; le voir, lui être soumis et obéir à son enseignement. Ils aspiraient aux jours passés et à leur relation avec Dieu et Paul.

v) « Quel zèle » (7 :11f) - probablement le zèle pour faire ce qu'ils auraient dû faire en premier lieu, à savoir, l'empressement à exercer la discipline dans l'église ; la volonté de redresser la situation ; une passion pour la sainteté et l'obéissance.

vi) « Quelle justice ! » (7 :11g) – l'action entreprise contre le péché commis parmi eux. Cela montre du « zèle » à mettre les choses en ordre dans l'église. Ceci est cohérent avec le commentaire de Paul dans 2 : 5-11 selon lequel ils étaient si zélés de punir l'offenseur à tel point qu'ils devaient maintenant lui pardonner.

vii) En fin, « vous avez montré à tous égards que vous étiez purs dans cette affaire. » (7 :11h) - probablement le sujet de 1 Cor. 5 :1ss. Mais Paul ne le dit pas explicitement. Ils avaient fait le nécessaire dans l'exercice de la discipline dans l'assemblée et cela les avait « innocentés ». Ils ne participaient plus au péché de cet homme.

Reprenant ses remarques en 7 : 8 à propos de la lettre attristant (grave), Paul explique maintenant pourquoi il l'a écrite premièrement : « 12 Si donc je vous ai écrit, ce n’était ni à cause de celui qui a fait l’injure, ni à cause de celui qui l’a reçue ; c’était afin que votre empressement pour nous fût manifesté parmi vous devant Dieu.13a C’est pourquoi nous avons été consolés. » (7 :12-13a).

Premièrement, il explique pourquoi il n’a pas écrit la lettre sévère. Il n’a pas écrit la lettre sévère pour « celui qui a mal agi » – le fils qui a commis l’inceste avec sa marâtre ; celui dont Paul avait ordonné l’excommunication (1 Cor. 5 :13) ; celui qui avait causé tant de peine et qui ne s’est pas repenti par la suite (2 Cor. 2 :1-8). Et il n’a pas écrit la lettre sévère pour « celui qui a été lésé ». – supposément, le mari de la marâtre. Notez que, avec la sagesse et la grâce pastorales, Paul n'utilise pas de noms - le problème est résolu et il n'y a aucun avantage à traîner les noms des gens dans la boue. Il les désigne simplement comme « celui qui a mal agi » et « celui qui a été lésé ».

Ensuite, il explique pourquoi il a écrit la lettre sévère. Il a écrit la lettre sévère pour qu'en présence de Dieu, ils puissent prendre conscience de combien ils tenaient vraiment à Paul, de leur ardeur pour lui. C'est exactement le résultat obtenu par sa lettre sévère. Et à cause de tout cela (sa lettre, leur réponse, l'impact sur l'église, le rapport de Tite, etc.), « nous avons été consolés. »

(c) La fierté de Paul à leur sujet se révèle vraie par les encouragements de Tite (7 :13b-16). 13b Mais, outre notre consolation, nous avons été réjouis beaucoup plus encore par la joie de Tite, dont l’esprit a été tranquillisé par vous tous.14 Et si devant lui je me suis un peu glorifié à votre sujet, je n’en ai point eu de confusion ; mais, comme nous vous avons toujours parlé selon la vérité, ce dont nous nous sommes glorifiés auprès de Tite s’est trouvé être aussi la vérité. (7 :13b-14).

Tout au long de cette section, Paul regarde le côté positif des choses (leur réponse, les encouragements de Tite, sa joie, etc.), malgré les preuves sous-jacentes qu'il avait encore des problèmes à régler à Corinthe - par ex. leur défi à l'autorité de Paul, etc. (voir les chapitres 10-13). Malgré tout cela, Paul est réconforté par ce qui s'est passé à Corinthe (en particulier, leur réponse à sa lettre sévère) et encore plus réconforté par la joie de Tite face au réconfort qu'il a reçu d'eux lors de la remise de la lettre.

La grâce et l'amour pastoral de Paul pour les Corinthiens deviennent très évidents. On ne s'attendrait guère à ce qu'il en fier auprès de Tite, compte tenu de tout ce qu'ils avaient fait et dit à son sujet. Mais plutôt que de leur envoyer Tite avec une mauvaise impression d'eux ou pour prendre des mesures sévères, il avait envoyé Tite à Corinthe avec une recommandation positive d'eux (fierté), ce qui s'était avéré vrai, tout comme tout ce qu'il leur avait dit était vrai. En conséquence (i) l'amour de Tite pour eux s’est approfondi : « Il éprouve pour vous un redoublement d’affection, au souvenir de votre obéissance à tous, et de l’accueil que vous lui avez fait avec crainte et tremblement. » (7 :15) ; et (ii) La confiance de Paul en eux est renforcée : Je me réjouis de pouvoir en toutes choses me confier en vous.” (7 :16). Après avoir renforcé leurs relations mutuelles et exprimé sa confiance en eux, il aborde ensuite la question de l'offrande pour les croyants pauvres à Jérusalem dans les chapitres 8-9.

III. Plans De Sermon

Titre : Apprendre de Jésus - Le trésor du royaume (Matt. 13 :44-46)

Sujet : Découvrir les richesses éternelles du royaume de Dieu

Thème : Vous découvrez les richesses éternelles lorsque vous entrez dans le royaume des cieux par Jésus-Christ.

Point I. Certaines personnes tombent de manière inattendue sur le trésor du royaume de Christ (13 :44).

Point II. Certaines personnes recherchent diligemment le trésor du royaume de Christ (13 :45-46).

Related Topics: Pastors

Jurnalul Electronic Al Păstorilor, Rom Ed 45, Editia de Vară 2022

A ministry of…

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

I. Consolidarea Predicării Expozitive: Predicarea Din Evanghelii, Partea A 4-A

Chiar dacă predicarea din textele narative ale Noului Testament nu este la fel de complexă ca predicarea din narațiunile Vechiului Testament din punct de vedere homiletic, există totuși niște capcane care pot fi evitate cu ajutorul principiilor hermeneutice și al metodologiei homiletice.

1. Alegerea textului. Ca întotdeauna când alegi un text pentru predică, selectează o unitate textuală întreagă în contextul său și în acord cu ceea ce autorul inspirat a vrut să comunice. Recomand predicarea dintr-o carte a Bibliei, de la început până la sfârșit, mai degrabă decât să alegi în fiecare săptămână texte care nu au legătură unul cu altul. Astfel, este bine să-ți faci o schiță a cărții, pentru că așa vei avea o hartă a drumului pe care mergi cu seria ta de predici și vei avea stabilit unde începe și se termină fiecare unitate textuală.

Pentru că evangheliile sunt o colecție de episoade, o modalitate prin care poți afla unitățile textuale este să cauți o schimbare de loc, de ascultători, de mesaj sau de activitate. Aceștia sunt buni indicatori ai locului în care începe sau se termină o unitate textuală. O altă modalitate de abordare este să te întrebi dacă textul ales are o temă specifică, completă și clară în context.

În general, este bine să predici o unitate textuală într-o singură predică, însă dacă este prea lungă și nu poate fi acoperită într-o singură predică, ar fi înțelept…

Fie: Să împarți întreaga narațiune în episoade și să legi fiecare episod de cel de dinainte.

Sau: Să subliniezi punctele principale ale pasajului.

Sau: Să predici mesajul sau întregul episod pe baza unui singur verset sau a câtorva versete care încapsulează ideea întregului pasaj.

Oricum ai decide să predici o unitate textuală (fie ca întreg sau pe segmente mai mici), ai grijă să o interpretezi și să o predici într-un mod care să fie consecvent cu întreaga secțiune și cu contextul mai larg al cărții ca întreg! Aici îți va fi de mare folos schița cărții.

2. Serii de predici. În unele cazuri, putem extrage foarte bine serii de predici din evanghelii – ex. …

(1) Predica de pe Munte (Mat. 5-7).

(2) Cei trei de „șapte” din Evanghelia după Ioan…

a) Cele șapte dialoguri importante (discursuri) – In. 3:1-21; 4:1-42; 7:53-8:11; 13:1-17; 18:33-19:11; 20:1-31; 21:15-25.

b) Șapte fapte supranaturale (minuni) – In. 2:1-11; 4:46-54; 5:1-47; 6:1-14; 6:16-21; 9:1-41; 11:1-44.

c) Șapte auto-declarații (afirmațiile de tipul „Eu sunt”) – In. 6:22-71; 8:12; 10:1-9; 10:10-18; 11:25-27; 14:1-6; 15:1-6.

Astfel, rămâi fidel intenției autorului, fără a te simți obligat să predici întreaga carte.

Ca și în cazul oricărei serii de predici care nu urmărește neapărat succesiunea autorului, trebuie să ai grijă ca interpretarea și aplicarea mesajelor să fie făcute în concordanță cu evanghelia ca întreg. Goldsworthy sugerează că „ar trebui să ne gândim cel puțin la structura evangheliei atunci când planificăm o serie de predici. Seria ar putea urmări să sublinieze această structură, arătând succesiunea accentelor și a punctelor critice. O serie de predici dintr-un grupaj de pilde sau de minuni ar trebui să arate funcția lor în planul și scopul general al evangheliei” (Goldsworthy, Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture, 231).

3. Formularea temei. Textele narative au teme, la fel ca pasajele didactice. Tema unui text este o afirmație care exprimă ideea teologică completă a pasajului, de obicei într-o singură frază. Tema unei unități textuale conduce apoi dezvoltarea predicii și nu o lasă să se îndepărteze de tema pasajului ales și de tema evangheliei ca întreg. Uneori, autorii inspirați își formulează în mod explicit scopul narațiunii lor (ex. Lc. 16:13; Lc. 19:10).

4. Structura unei predici dintr-un text narativ din evanghelii. Ca și în cazul altor genuri literare, este un principiu bun să îți structurezi predica inspirată din texte narative din evanghelii într-un mod care respectă forma literară a textului, așa încât forma literară să dea forma predicii. Structura textului dictează structura predicii. Astfel, așa cum forma textului (în cazul acesta, forma narativă) determină structura textului, tot așa forma textului determină structura predicii. Ca și în cazul celorlalte narațiuni din Biblie, textele narative din evanghelii își derivă structura din „mișcările” (sau „scenele”) din text.

Orice abordare alegi atunci când predici din textele narative din evanghelii (inclusiv pildele), îți recomand să îți structurezi predicile în același mod în care structurezi orice altă predică expozitivă – adică să formulezi tema care sumarizează întreaga narațiune și să faci o schiță de predică în care să surprinzi ideile teologice ale narațiunii.

5. Sugestii pentru predicarea din pilde. Există mai multe moduri în care poți predica din pilde, cum ar fi:

(1) Grupându-le în funcție de tipul lor - ex. …

(a) Pilde evanghelistice (ex. Mat. 7:24-27).

(b) Viața în pildele împărăției (ex. Mat. 13:1-9; Mat. 13:24-30).

(c) Pilde escatologice (ex. Mat. 25:1-13).

(2) Grupându-le în funcție de o temă comună - ex. …

a) Pregătirea pentru eternitate – cum ar fi pilda bogatului căruia i-a rodit ţarina (Luca 12:16-21) și cea a ispravnicului necredincios (Lc. 16:1-13).

b) Bucuria lui Dumnezeu în mântuirea oamenilor pierduți – cum ar fi pilda oiței rătăcite, a banului pierdut și pilda fiului risipitor (Lc. 15:1-32).

(3) Realizând o paralelă sau un contrast între pilde – adică pilde cu subiect comun spuse din perspective diferite. De exemplu, subiectul slujirii lui Dumnezeu cu resursele spirituale pe care ni le-a dat – ex. …

a) Pilda polilor (Lc. 19:11-27).

b) Pilda talanților (Mat. 25:14-30).

Atunci când predici din pilde ar trebui să reproduci scopul original al pildei (adică să ilustrezi o anumită nevoie sau problemă), atrăgând în primul rând ascultătorii în povestire (ajutându-i să înțeleagă pilda) și aplicând apoi ideea povestirii la ascultători, dând un exemplu echivalent din viața contemporană cu scopul de a determina un răspuns corespunzător.

Iată câteva întrebări utile pe care să ți le pui atunci când pregătești o predică dintr-o pildă:

(1) Care este ideea generală a pildei?

(2) Ce perspectivă nouă sau adevăr nou aduce pilda?

(3) Cine sunt ascultătorii - ucenicii, mulțimea, liderii religioși?

(4) Cum și când se văd ascultătorii pe ei înșiși în povestire și ce reacție produce acest lucru în ei?

(5) Ce mijloace literare sunt folosite? Are o structură alegorică sau metaforică și, dacă da, care este scopul acestei structuri?

(6) Pilda prezintă un contrast sau o comparație? Dacă da, despre ce vorbește comparația sau contrastul și care este scopul său?

(7) Despre ce aspect din învățătura lui Isus despre Împărăția lui Dumnezeu vorbește pilda?

(8) Care sunt provocările de interpretare ale pildei?

(9) Care sunt scenele progresive din pildă care te ajută să-ți structurezi predica? De exemplu, pilda bogatului nemilostiv și a lui Lazăr (Lc. 16:19-31) se dezvoltă pe baza a două scene și discursuri contrastante:

(i) Contrastul dintre stiluri de viață pe pământ (19-21) și destine veșnice (22-23).

(ii) Contrastul dintre răsplata veșnică și realitate (24-31).

Un alt exemplu este pilda fiului risipitor (Lc. 15:11-32) care conține patru scene:

(i) Împărțirea moștenirii și plecarea într-o țară îndepărtată (11-13a).

(ii) Afundarea în sărăcie și rușine (13b-16).

(iii) Conștientizarea și întoarcerea (17-21).

(iv) Pocăința și întâmpinarea (22-32).

(10) Ce relevanță are povestea pildei pentru ascultătorii contemporani?

După ce faci toată munca exegetică și hermeneutică, începe să-ți pregătești predica! Există o mare flexibilitate în ce privește forma și stilul atunci când predici din pilde. Toate opțiunile disponibile pentru predicarea din texte narative se aplică și la predicarea din pilde, care sunt de fapt o subcategorie a textelor narative, având și ele expoziție, intrigă, punct culminant și încheiere.

Dată fiind complexitatea pildelor (i.e. contextul lor; niveluri multiple de semnificație, atât literală, cât și alegorică; scopul și aplicarea lor) și creativitatea lor, ar fi înțelept să le predici cu o minte deschisă și cu un anumit grad de creativitate în ce privește forma predicii – ex. monolog dramatic; identificarea cu un punct de vedere; parafrazare în limbaj contemporan.

În general, eficiența unei pilde se datorează faptului că „poanta” nu vine decât la final, iar până atunci, cei care ar putea reacționa în mod negativ la ideea pildei, au fost deja atrași în povestire. Dacă pildele își dezvăluie „poanta” abia la final, ar fi înțelept să ții cont de acest lucru atunci când predici din pilde.

II. Consolidarea Conducerii Biblice
„Slujba Împăcării, Partea A 4-A (Continuare): O Chemare La Împăcarea Poporului Lui Dumnezeu Cu Slujitorul Lui Dumnezeu” (2 Cor. 6:11-7:16)

Am ajuns la ultima parte a studiului nostru pe acest text biblic. În ultimele două ediții ale Jurnalului, am studiat 2 Corinteni 6:11-18 (Numărul 43, Primăvara 2022) și 2 Corinteni 7:1-4 (Numărul 44, Vara 2022), unde am dezbătut primele trei secțiuni ale acestui text:

1. O chemare pastorală la dragoste (6:11-13).

2. O chemare pastorală la avertizare (6:14-18).

3. Aplicarea chemării pastorale (7:1-4).

În prezenta ediție, continuăm cu ultima secțiune…

4. Contextul și efectul chemării pastorale (7:5-16). Devine acum clar faptul că întregul pasaj de la 2:14 până la 7:4 a fost o digresiune de la subiectul din 2:13. Dați-mi voie să ilustrez lucrul acesta, punând alături cele două secțiuni: 2:12 Când am ajuns la Troa pentru Evanghelia lui Hristos, măcar că mi se deschisese acolo o uşă în Domnul, 2:13 n-am avut linişte în duhul meu, fiindcă n-am găsit pe fratele meu Tit; de aceea, mi-am luat ziua bună de la fraţi şi am plecat în Macedonia”7:5 Căci, şi după venirea noastră în Macedonia, trupul nostru n-a avut nicio odihnă …”. Așadar, reluând subiectul din 2:12-13, Pavel explică acum că atunci când nu l-a găsit pe Tit în Troa, după cum se așteptase și neavând liniște în duhul lui, a plecat din Troa spre Macedonia, sperând să-l găsească acolo pe Tit, ceea ce s-a și întâmplat (7:5-6). Pavel era nerăbdător să se întâlnească cu Tit, pentru a primi vești de la el, atât despre sănătatea sa, cât și despre corinteni, inclusiv, cel mai important, să afle răspunsul lor la „epistola care i-a întristat” și pe care Tit le-o dusese. El își amintește acum de întâlnirea lui cu Tit în Macedonia și de mângâierea pe care o primise în urma veștilor aduse de Tit (7:7-16).

Se ridică întrebarea: De ce a făcut Pavel o digresiune atât de lungă de la 2:14 până la 7:4? Unii au spus că pasajul de la 2:14 până la 7:4 este, de fapt, o inserție dintr-o altă epistolă, dar eu nu cred că este cazul. Alții spun că așa se scriu epistolele – că ele nu urmează neapărat un tipar logic, sistematic. Și așa este, dar nu cred că este cazul aici. Deși pasajul de la 2:14 până la 7:4 este o digresiune, totuși el nu este în niciun fel deconectat, cum spun unii, de subiectul principal. Într-adevăr, relatarea lui Pavel despre întâlnirea sa cu Tit formează contextul îndemnurilor și învățăturilor transmise corintenilor în digresiune. Vom înțelege mai bine această digresiune dacă vom ține cont de faptul că a fost scrisă după ce s-a întâmplat, după cum arată foarte clar contextul acestui îndemn pastoral. Pavel știa deja veștile pe care i le adusese Tit atunci când scria digresiunea. Așadar, digresiunea ne arată că, pe de o parte, Pavel este îmbărbătat de veștile lui Tit, dar, pe de altă parte, este evident că încă mai are de corectat anumite probleme din Corint. Dumnezeu îi dă slujitorului Său bucurie și biruințe în slujire, dar în același timp, biruința în slujire vine cu anumite provocări.

În cele din urmă, Pavel află de la Tit că epistola sa dureroasă trimisă corintenilor a dus la un extraordinar rezultat pozitiv, după cum urmează:

(a) Descurajarea lui Pavel cauzată de împrejurările în care se află se transformă în mângâiere prin părtășia pe care o are cu Tit (7:5-6). 5 Căci, şi după venirea noastră în Macedonia, trupul nostru n-a avut nicio odihnă. Am fost necăjiţi în toate chipurile: de afară, lupte, dinăuntru, temeri. 6 Dar Dumnezeu, care mângâie pe cei smeriţi, ne-a mângâiat prin venirea lui Tit.” Necazurile fizice și mentale ale lui Pavel au continuat și după sosirea sa în Macedonia (cf. 4:8-9; 11:22-33). S-a confruntat cu „lupte” în afară (poate atacuri spirituale sau poate chiar fizice) și cu „temeri” dinăuntru (poate cu îngrijorare cu privire la felul în care corintenii îl vor fi primit pe Tit și scrisoarea de la Pavel, mai ales pentru că Tit nu se întorsese încă, după cum s-ar fi așteptat.

Slujitorii nu sunt imuni la nenorociri, împotriviri și îngrijorări, dar Dumnezeu face diferența. El îi mângâie pe cei smeriţi (cf. 1:3-7; cf. Ps. 34:18) și l-a mângâiat și pe Pavel în această situație. În mijlocul conflictelor dinafară și a temerilor dinăuntru, Pavel a fost mângâiat prin venirea lui Tit” (6b) – știindu-l în siguranță și întâlnindu-se cu colegul său de slujire, mai ales după împotrivirea și singurătatea cu care se confruntase. Este o mare încurajare în slujire să ai colegi de la care să poți primi mângâiere în vremuri grele și cu care să poți avea părtășie.

Astfel, descurajarea lui Pavel din cauza împrejurărilor în care se afla se transformă în mângâiere prin venirea lui Tit și părtășia pe care o are cu el. Și…

(b) Durerea lui Pavel din cauza păcatului lor se schimbă în bucurie în urma răspunsului primit de la ei (7:7-13a). „…Şi nu numai prin venirea lui (am fost mângâiați), ci şi prin mângâierea cu care a fost mângâiat şi el de voi. El ne-a istorisit despre dorinţa voastră arzătoare, despre lacrimile voastre, despre râvna voastră pentru mine, aşa că bucuria mea a fost şi mai mare” (2 Cor. 7:7). Pavel a fost încurajat de răspunsul pe care ei i l-au dat lui Tit – „…prin mângâierea cu care a fost mângâiat şi el de voi.”

Pavel a fost mângâiat (7:7a) de faptul că biserica din Corint îl primise bine pe Tit și scrisoarea pe care el o adusese de la Pavel, că îl trataseră bine pe tovarășul său de slujire și că răspunsul lor la misiunea lui Tit (adică aducerea scrisorii lui Pavel) a fost unul pozitiv. Aceasta a fost o sursă de mare mângâiere pentru Pavel. Și Pavel, văzând răspunsul lor față de el, spune: „bucuria mea a fost şi mai mare”.

În primul rând, bucuria lui a fost și mai mare datorită răspunsului lor față de el, personal (7:7b) după cum vedem în:

(i) „… dorinţa voastră arzătoare… pentru mine.” Voiau să-l vadă pe Pavel și, probabil, să pună lucrurile la punct și să reînnoiască relația.

(ii) „… despre lacrimile voastre… pentru mine.” Este clar că le părea rău pentru ce se întâmplase.

(iii) „… despre râvna voastră pentru mine.” Distanțarea lor față de Pavel este înlocuită acum cu râvnă pentru el – sunt dornici să facă ce i-a învățat el și, poate chiar să-l apere.

În al doilea rând, bucuria lui este și mai mare datorită răspunsului lor la nivel spiritual (7:8-12). Pavel se frământase cum să rezolve aceasta: Măcar că v-am întristat prin epistola mea, nu-mi pare rău; şi, chiar dacă mi-ar fi părut rău – căci văd că epistola aceea v-a întristat (măcar că pentru puţină vreme) – totuşi acum mă bucur…” (7:8-9a). Pe de o parte, Pavel pare să fi regretat la început că le-a scris epistola aceea care i-a „întristat”, pentru că nu voia să-i facă să sufere. Poate că se temea să nu fi fost prea dur, iar ei să-l fi ignorat. Poate că, fiind pastorul lor, se frământase cum să rezolve problema, pe de-o parte, însă pe de altă parte nu voia să piardă relația pe care o avea cu ei.

Acestea sunt întotdeauna riscurile confruntării și luptele cu care se confruntă pastorii – să știe ce trebuie făcut și să-și asume, în același timp, riscul de a fi respins. De aceea, trebuie întotdeauna să fim „credincioşi adevărului, în dragoste” (Ef. 4:15), și niciodată să nu ne purtăm ca și cum am „stăpâni” peste alții (1 Pet. 5:3) sau să-i călcăm în picioare pe oameni cu mânie sau cu superioritate spirituală. Însă odată ce le-a scris, s-a bucurat c-a făcut-o, pentru că întristarea lor a fost de scurtă durată, măcar că pentru puţină vreme” (7:8b), și i-a condus la pocăință – totuşi acum mă bucur, nu pentru că aţi fost întristaţi, ci pentru că întristarea voastră v-a adus la pocăinţă” (7:9a).

De ce întristarea lor i-a condus la pocăință? Căci aţi fost întristaţi după voia lui Dumnezeu” (7:9b). Întristarea lor pentru ceea ce se întâmplase (păcatul care fusese permis între ei și relația lor cu Pavel) a fost o întristare după voia lui Dumnezeu, produsă de Dumnezeu. Și nu a fost doar un sentiment de regret de scurtă durată, ci o lucrare profundă a lui Dumnezeu în ei. Rezultatul întristării după voia lui Dumnezeu a fost acesta: ca să n-aveţi nicio pagubă din partea noastră” (7:9c). Întristarea după voia lui Dumnezeu nu este fără un scop – nu are un efect negativ; nu duce la relații afectate (cum poate că se temea Pavel); nu îi privează de ceva, ci le dă înapoi ceea ce fusese pierdut. Nu, ci ea este benefică în orice privință – ea dă speranță, restaurează bucuria, reface relații etc. În adevăr, când întristarea este după voia lui Dumnezeu, aduce o pocăinţă care duce la mântuire şi de care cineva nu se căieşte niciodată; pe când întristarea lumii aduce moartea.” (7:10). Slujba împăcării are ca scop întristarea după voia lui Dumnezeu, care duce la pocăinţă care duce la mântuire şi de care cineva nu se căieşte niciodată.”

„Întristarea după voia lui Dumnezeu are o cu totul altă cauză și alt efect decât întristarea lumii. Întristarea lumii aduce moartea (cf. 2 Cor. 2:16), pe când întristarea după voia lui Dumnezeu duce la viață. Aceasta este diferența. Întristarea lumii este cauzată de împrejurări (pierdere, eșec etc.); întristarea după voia lui Dumnezeu este cauzată de păcat. Întristarea lumii duce la relații afectate, disperare, și poate chiar la moarte (ex. sinucidere); întristarea după voia lui Dumnezeu duce la mântuire, viață, liniștea conștiinței, bucurie, relații restaurate, împăcare.

„Întristarea după voia lui Dumnezeu nu este pentru sine, ci pentru Dumnezeu. Este „întristare conform cu Dumnezeu” (lit.) – „după voia lui Dumnezeu” (7:11a) – întristare produsă de Dumnezeu și ca răspuns față de Dumnezeu. Așadar, întristarea evlavioasă duce la pocăință reală de păcate – o întoarcere de la păcatul care cauzează ruptura în relația noastră cu Dumnezeu și o întoarcere cu credință către Dumnezeu – și caută reconciliere cu Dumnezeu și cu semenii. Acest tip de întristare și pocăință este temelia mântuirii noastre.

„Întristarea lumii pe de altă parte, nu restaurează. Ea nu poate restaura ce a fost pierdut. Nu poate desface ce a fost făcut. Nu poate da pace și liniștea conștiinței. Nu poate da viață spirituală. Ea nu produce decât amărăciune, vină, disperare și regret. Dar întristarea evlavioasă este o întristare produsă de păcat, care produce pocăință și duce la mântuire, pe care nu o regretăm niciodată, pentru că duce la o relație restaurată cu Dumnezeu. Mai mult, rezultatul întristării evlavioase este că nu trăiești pentru tot restul vieții într-o stare de regret pentru ceea ce ar fi putut să fie. Din contră, mântuirea și restaurarea relației cu Dumnezeu și cu semenii este de așa natură încât nu vei regreta niciodată că ai luat o asemenea decizie.

Dar de ce vorbește Pavel despre o astfel de pocăință spunând că ea duce la „mântuire”, dacă se adresează unor credincioși? El vorbește despre „pocăința” acestor credincioși, care este de natură să „ducă la mântuire”. Deși ei erau creștini și erau mântuiți, pocăința lor a fost de aceeași natură ca cea pe care au avut-o atunci când au fost mântuiți. Pavel nu vrea să spună că au fost mântuiți și pierduți, iar acum sunt salvați din nou, ci mai degrabă spune că pocăința lor era un indicator clar al faptului că erau mântuiți, pentru că i-a pus din nou într-o relație corectă cu Dumnezeu.

Un slujitor al împăcării caută întristarea evlavioasă, exprimată prin pocăință reală și mântuitoare. El folosește confruntarea într-un asemenea mod încât aceasta să producă întristare evlavioasă care (i) nu strică relația lor; și (ii) duce la un rezultat spiritual permanent.

Pavel arată acum cum este cu adevărat întristarea după voia lui Dumnezeu (întristarea evlavioasă); ce schimbări produce; care este natura adevăratei pocăințe: Căci uite, tocmai întristarea aceasta a voastră, după voia lui Dumnezeu, ce frământare a trezit în voi!” (7:11a). Pocăința adevărată produce o transformare totală în modul în care gândește și se poartă o persoană. Corintenii au acum dorința de a face ceea ce este bine înaintea lui Dumnezeu. În loc să observe comportamentul păcătos din mijlocul lor în mod pasiv și să se laude cu el, sunt plini de energie acum și gata să acționeze pentru Dumnezeu. Cum se exprimă această dorință în practica și atitudinea lor? Pavel ne dă șapte caracteristici…

i) „Şi ce cuvinte de dezvinovăţire!” (7:11b) – biserica este dezvinovățită de complicitate la acest păcat.

ii) „Ce mânie!” (7:11c) – mânie față de păcat. Acum își dau seama ce se întâmplase cu adevărat și s-au mâniat pe bună dreptate că acest lucru se întâmplase în mijlocul lor, iar ei l-au tolerat. Aceasta este motivul pentru care trebuie să ne mâniem – păcatul!

iii) „Ce frică!” (7:11d) – frică de pedeapsa lui Dumnezeu; frică pentru că sfințenia lui Dumnezeu fusese jignită; frică pentru ceea ce îi făcuseră „slujitorului lui Dumnezeu”; frică de consecințele la care ar fi putut să ducă faptele lor.

iv) „Ce dorinţă aprinsă!” (7:11e) – dorința de a se împăca cu Dumnezeu și cu Pavel față în față; dorința să-l vadă, să i se supună și să asculte de învățătura lui. Tânjeau după zilele de dinainte și după relația pe care o avuseseră cu Dumnezeu și cu Pavel.

v) „Ce râvnă!” (7:11f) – probabil zel pentru ceea ce ar fi trebuit să facă de la început, adică pentru exercitarea disciplinei bisericești; dorința de a pune lucrurile în ordine; pasiune pentru sfințenie și ascultare.

vi) „Ce pedeapsă!” (7:11g) – măsura luată împotriva păcatului comis între ei. Aceasta vine din „râvna” de a pune lucrurile în ordine în biserică. Aceasta se potrivește cu ceea ce spune Pavel în 2:5-11, că erau atât de plini de râvnă să-l pedepsească pe cel care făcuse ocara, încât acum trebuiau să-l ierte.

vii) Într-adevăr, „în toate, voi aţi arătat că sunteţi curaţi în privinţa aceasta.” (7:11h) – probabil în chestiunea din 1 Cor. 5:1 și urm., dar Pavel nu o menționează aici în mod explicit. Făcuseră ceea ce era necesar, exercitând disciplina în biserică și asta i-a făcut „curați”. Nu mai erau părtași păcatului acelui om.

Reluând ceea ce spunea în 7:8 despre epistola care le-a produs întristare, Pavel explică acum de ce a scris-o: 12 Aşa că, dacă v-am scris, nu v-am scris nici din pricina celui ce a făcut ocara, nici din pricina celui ce a suferit ocara, ci ca să se arate marea noastră purtare de grijă pentru voi, înaintea lui Dumnezeu. 13a De aceea am fost mângâiaţi” (7:12-13a).

În primul rând, explică de ce nu a scris epistola aceea severă. Nu a scris-o din pricina celui ce a făcut ocara – adică a fiului care comisese incest cu mama lui vitregă și a cărui excomunicare o poruncise Pavel (1 Cor. 5:13); cel care provocase atât de multă suferință, dar care s-a pocăit ulterior (2 Cor. 2:1-8). Și nu a scris epistola aceea severă nici din pricina celui ce a suferit ocara – probabil soțul mamei vitrege. Observați că, dând dovadă de har și înțelepciune pastorală, Pavel nu folosește nume – problema este încheiată și nu ar avea niciun rost să târască numele acelor oameni prin noroi. Se referă la ei numindu-i cel ce a făcut ocara și cel ce a suferit ocara.

Apoi, Pavel explică de ce a scris acea epistolă severă. A scris-o pentru ca, în prezența lui Dumnezeu, ei să își dea seama cât de mult țineau la Pavel și cât de serioși erau cu privire la el. Și exact acesta este rezultatul obținut prin epistola sa. Iar în urma tuturor acestor lucruri (epistola lui, răspunsul lor, impactul asupra bisericii, veștile aduse de Tit etc.), am fost mângâiaţi.”

(c) Lauda lui Pavel cu privire la ei se dovedește adevărată prin încurajarea adusă de Tit (7:13b-16). 13b Dar, pe lângă mângâierea aceasta a noastră, ne-am bucurat şi mai mult de bucuria lui Tit, al cărui duh a fost răcorit de voi toţi. 14 Şi, dacă m-am lăudat puţin cu voi înaintea lui, n-am fost dat de ruşine. Ci, după cum în orice lucru v-am spus adevărul, tot aşa şi lauda noastră cu voi, înaintea lui Tit, s-a adeverit” (7:13b-14).

În această secțiune, Pavel se uită la partea pozitivă a lucrurilor (la răspunsul lor, încurajarea lui Tit, bucuria lui etc.), în ciuda dovezilor care arătau că încă avea probleme de rezolvat în Corint - ex. contestarea autorității lui Pavel etc. (vezi capitolele 10-13). În ciuda acestor lucruri, Pavel este mângâiat de ceea ce se întâmplase în Corint (mai ales de răspunsul lor la epistola lui severă) și chiar mai mângâiat de bucuria lui Tit, al cărui duh a fost răcorit atunci când le-a dus scrisoarea.

Dragostea pastorală și harul lui Pavel pentru corinteni devin foarte evidente. Nu te-ai aștepta, ținând cont de ceea ce făcuseră și spuseseră despre el, să se laude cu ei în fața lui Tit. Însă, în loc să îl trimită pe Tit la ei având o impresie proastă despre ei sau să ia măsuri drastice, Pavel îl trimite pe Tit la Corint cu o recomandare pozitivă despre ei (laudă), care s-a dovedit a fi adevărată, la fel cum tot ceea ce le spusese era adevărat. Prin urmare, (i) dragostea lui Tit pentru ei crește: El are o şi mai mare dragoste pentru voi, când îşi aduce aminte de ascultarea voastră a tuturor şi de primirea pe care i-aţi făcut-o, cu frică şi cu cutremur” (7:15); și (ii) încrederea lui Pavel în ei este întărită: Mă bucur că mă pot încrede în voi în toate privinţele” (7:16). După ce și-au întărit relația în mod reciproc și Pavel și-a exprimat încrederea pe care o are în ei, apostolul reia subiectul dărniciei pentru credincioșii săraci din Ierusalim în capitolele 8-9.

III. Schițe de predici

Titlu: Să învățăm de la Isus – Comoara Împărăției (Mat. 13:44-46)

Subiectul: Să descoperim bogățiile eterne ale Împărăției lui Dumnezeu.

Tema: Descoperi bogății eterne atunci când intri în Împărăția cerurilor prin Isus Hristos.

Punctul I. Unii oameni se împiedică în mod neașteptat de comoara Împărăției lui Hristos (13:44).

Punctul II. Unii oameni caută cu sârguință comoara Împărăției lui Hristos (13:45-46).

Related Topics: Pastors

Журнал для пасторов Net, Rus Ed 45, Летнее издание 2022

Служение Института Библейского Проповедования…

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

I. Усиливая Объяснительную Проповедь: Проповедь Новозаветных Евангелий, Ч. 4

Во время проповеди новозаветных (Н.З.) повествований не так сложно с гомилетической точки зрения, как проповедь ветхозаветных (В.З.) повествований, есть еще некоторые ловушки, которых нам помогут избежать здравые герменевтические принципы и гомилетическая методология.

1. Выбор текста. Как и при любом выборе текста, всегда проповедуйте полную мысль в ее контексте и в соответствии с тем, что первоначальный автор намеревался передать. Я рекомендую проповедовать по всем книгам Библии, а не выбирать и выбирать не связанные между собой отрывки каждую неделю. В связи с этим хорошей практикой является описание структуры всей книги. Это дает вам дорожную карту того, куда вы движетесь со своей серией проповедей, и где каждая единица мысли начинается и заканчивается.

Поскольку Евангелия представляют собой набор эпизодов, один из способов найти в них единую мысль — это искать изменение места, изменение аудитории, изменение сообщения или деятельности. Это хорошие индикаторы начала и конца мысли. Другой подход заключается в том, чтобы спросить себя, имеет ли выбранный вами отрывок конкретную, полную и ясную тему в своем контексте.

Обычно лучше всего проповедовать одну мысль в одной проповеди. Но если эта мысль слишком обширна, чтобы охватить ее в одной проповеди, вы можете сделать это мудро…

Либо: разделить все повествование на эпизоды и соединить каждый эпизод с предыдущим по мере того, как вы их проповедуете.

Либо: Выделить основные моменты в отрывке

Либо: Проповедовать идею всего эпизода, основываясь на одном конкретном стихе или нескольких стихах, заключающих в себе идею всего отрывка.

Как бы вы ни решили проповедовать ту или иную мысль (будь то в целом или в меньших сегментах), постарайтесь все же толковать и проповедовать ее таким образом, который согласуется со всей частью книги и более широкой структурой книги как единой концепции целиком. Здесь структурный план книги сослужит вам хорошую службу.

2. Серия проповедей. В некоторых случаях Евангелия можно очень красиво разбить на отдельные серии проповедей – например, …

1) Нагорная проповедь (Мф. 5-7).

2) Три «семерки» Евангелия от Иоанна…

а) Семь многозначительных диалогов (рассуждений) - Ин. 3:1-21; 4:1-42; 7:53-8:11; 13:1-17; 18:33-19:11; 20:1-31; 21:15-25.

б) Семь сверхъестественных дел (чудес) – Ин. 2:1-11; 4:46-54; 5:1-47; 6:1-14; 6:16-21; 9:1-41; 11:1-44.

в) Семь самопровозглашений (утверждений «Я есмь») – Ин. 6:22-71; 8:12; 10:1-9; 10:10-18; 11:25-27; 14:1-6; 15:1-6.

Таким образом, вы можете быть верны замыслу автора, но не чувствовать себя обязанным проповедовать всю книгу.

Как и в случае с любой серийностью проповедей, которая не обязательно следует последовательности автора, необходимо позаботиться о том, чтобы по-прежнему толковать и применять эти послания в соответствии с Евангелием в целом. Голдсуорси предполагает, что «структура Евангелия должна, по крайней мере, быть в мыслях при планировании серии проповедей. Серия проповедей может быть нацелена на то, чтобы выделить эту структуру, показывая последовательность акцентов и критических моментов. Серия притч или чудес должна выявить их роль в общем плане и целях Евангелия» (Голдсуорси, «Проповедь всей Библии как христианского Писания», с. 231).

3. Формулировка темы. У рассказов есть темы, как и у поучительных отрывков. Тема текста — это высказывание, выражающее всю теологическую суть отрывка, обычно в одном предложении. Утверждение темы (иногда называемое предложенным утверждением) единой мысли затем направляет развитие проповеди, сохраняя ее согласованность с темой выбранного отрывка и темой Евангелия в целом. Иногда авторы Евангелий прямо указывают суть повествования (например, Лк. 16:13; Лк. 19:10).

4. Структура евангельской повествовательной проповеди. Как и в случае с другими жанрами, хорошо структурировать свои проповеди в евангельских повествованиях таким образом, чтобы уважать литературную форму текста, чтобы литературная форма формировала структуру вашей проповеди. Как каждый библейский отрывок имеет структуру, так и наши проповеди должны иметь структуру. Структура текста диктует структуру проповеди. Таким образом, как форма (в данном случае повествовательная форма) текста определяет структуру текста, так и форма текста определяет структуру проповеди. Как и другие повествования в Библии, евангельские повествования получают свою структуру от «движений» (или «сцен») в тексте.

Какой бы подход вы ни выбрали для проповеди евангельских повествований (включая притчи), я рекомендую вам строить свои проповеди так же, как вы строите любую другую разъяснительную проповедь, т. е. выражая в ней теологические моменты повествования по мере ее развития.

5. Рекомендации по проповеди притч. Есть разные способы проповедовать притчи, например:

1) Группировка их по типу - например. …

а) евангельские притчи (напр., Мф. 7:24-27).

б) притчи о жизни в Царстве (напр., Мф. 13:1–9; Мф. 13:24–30).

в) эсхатологические притчи (напр., Мф. 25 :1–13).

2) Группировка их по общей теме - например. …

а) Подготовка к вечности – как у богатого земледельца (Лк. 12:16-21) и нечестного управителя (Лк. 16:1-13).

б) Божья радость в спасении потерянных людей – как в случае с заблудшей овцой, потерянной драхмой и блудным сыном (Лк. 15:1-32).

3) Параллельные и контрастные притчи – то есть притчи на общую тему, рассказываемые с разных точек зрения. Например, предмет служения Богу духовными ресурсами, которые Он нам дал – напр. …

а) десять слуг и десять мин (Лк. 19:11-27).

б) Три слуги и их таланты (Мф. 25:14-30).

Ваш общий подход к проповеди притчи должен состоять в том, чтобы повторить первоначальную цель притчи (т. е. проиллюстрировать конкретную потребность или проблему), сначала нужно вовлечь аудиторию в историю (т. е. в историю для вашей аудитории, раскрыть современную эквивалентную потребность или проблему с намерением спровоцировать соответствующую реакцию.

Вот несколько полезных вопросов, которые следует задать себе при подготовке проповеди на основе притчи:

1) Какова общая цель притчи?

2) Какую новую перспективу или истину она раскрывает?

3) Кто аудитория - ученики, толпа, религиозные лидеры?

4) Когда и как слушатели видят себя в повествовании, и какую реакцию он у них вызывает?

5) Какой литературный прием он использует? Является ли оно аллегорическим или метафорическим по своей структуре, и если да, то какова его цель?

6) Представляет ли притча контраст или сравнение? Если да, то в чем заключается противопоставление или сравнение и какова его цель?

7) К какому аспекту учения Иисуса о Царстве Божьем обращена притча?

8) Каковы проблемы толкования в притче?

9) Какие прогрессивные сцены в притче помогают вам структурировать проповедь? Например, притча о богаче и Лазаре (Лк. 16:19-31) развивается посредством двух контрастирующих сцен и рассуждений:

а) Противопоставление земного образа жизни (19-21) и вечных судеб (22-23).

б) Противопоставление вечных наград и реальностей (24-31)

Другим примером является притча о блудном сыне (Лк. 15:11-32), которая развивается через четыре сцены:

а) Раздел наследства и отъезд в дальнюю страну (11-13а).

б) Погружение в нищету и позор (13б-16).

в) Понимание проблемы и возвращение (17-21).

г) Покаяние и принятие (22-32).

10) Насколько история притчи актуальна для вашей современной аудитории?

Выполнив всю свою экзегетическую и герменевтическую работу, приступайте к подготовке проповеди. Существует большая гибкость в форме и стиле проповеди притч. Все варианты, доступные для проповедников повествований, применимы и к проповедникам, проповедующим пртчи поскольку они представляют собой подмножество повествований, начинающихся с описания обстановки к проблеме, к кульминации и к развязке.

Учитывая сложность притч (т. е. их контекста, их множественных уровней значения, как литературного так и аллегорического, их цель и их применение и применяя творческий подход к самим притчам, важно мудро проповедовать их с открытым разумом и подходить творчески к форме своей проповеди – т.е. можно использовать драматический монолог, также отождествить себя с кем-то в притче; пересказать ее на современный лад.

Как правило, эффективность притчи связана с тем, что «изюминка» не появляется в конце, к тому времени в историю втягиваются те, кто может негативно отреагировать на ее точку зрения. Поскольку притчи держат свою «изюминку» до конца, имеет смысл проповедовать их таким образом.

II. Усиление Библейского Руководства «Служение Примирения, Ч. 4 (Продолжение): Призыв К Примирении Божьего Народа И Божьего Служителя» (2 Кор. 6:11-7:16)

Это заключительная часть изучения нами этого отрывка. В последних двух выпусках этого журнала мы рассмотрели 2 Коринфянам 6:11-18 (издание № 43, весна 2022 г.) и 2 Коринфянам 7:1-4 (издание № 44, лето 2022 г.), в которых мы рассмотрели первые три части отрывка:

1. Пасторский призыв любви (6:11-13).

2. Пасторский призыв увещевания (6:14-18).

3. Применение пасторского призыва (7:1-4).

В этом выпуске мы продолжаем последний раздел…

4. Предыстория и результат пасторского призыва (7:5-16). Теперь становится ясно, что весь отрывок от 2:14 до 7:4 был отклонением в потоке мысли от 2:13. Позвольте мне проиллюстрировать это, соединив два раздела вместе: « 2:12 Пришед в Троаду благовествовать о Христе, хотя мне и отверста была дверьГосподом, 2:13 я не имел покоя духу моему, потому что я не нашел там брата моего Тита. Но, простившись с ними, я пошел в Македонию»…7:5 На самом деле, когда мы пришли в Македонию, у нас не было покоя…». Итак, улавливая ход мысли из 2:12-13, Павел теперь объясняет, что, когда он не нашел Тита в Троаде, как он ожидал, и не имея покоя в духе своем, он ушел из Троады в Македонию, надеясь найти там Тита, что он и сделал (7:5-6). Павел очень хотел встретиться с Титом, чтобы получить от него известия о своем благополучии и благополучии коринфян, в том числе, что наиболее важно, их ответ на его «скорбное письмо», которое передал им Тит. Теперь он рассказывает о своем воссоединении с Титом в Македонии и об утешении, которое он получил от рассказа Тита (7:7-16).

Возникает вопрос: почему Павел сделал такое длинное отступление от стихов 2:14 до стихов 7:4? Некоторые предполагают, что этот отрывок от 2:14 до 7:4 на самом деле - вставка из другого письма Павла, но я думаю, что это не так. Другие утверждают, что именно так и пишутся письма — они не обязательно следуют систематическому логическому образцу. Хотя это так, я думаю, что здесь это не так. Хотя расширенный отрывок из 2:14 и 7:4 является отступлением, он никоим образом не оторван, как утверждают некоторые, от основной темы повествования. Действительно, рассказ Павла о его встрече с Титом служит фоном для его посланий и наставлений к коринфянам в этом отступлении. Чтобы понять нам суть этого отступления нужно помнить, что оно было написано постфактум, как это ясно из прежних событий пасторского обращения к ним. Павел уже знал, что сообщил ему Тит, когда писал то отступление. Итак, отступление показывает нам, что, с одной стороны, Павел воодушевлен сообщением Тита, но, с другой стороны, у него, очевидно, еще остались вопросы, которые нужно было решить в Коринфе. Бог, безусловно, дает служителю радость и победу в служении, но в то же время победа в служении не обходится без вызовов.

В конце концов, Павел узнает от Тита, что его скорбное письмо к Коринфянам привело к чудесному положительному результату:

а) Уныние Павла по поводу своих обстоятельств изменяется на утешение благодаря общению с Титом (7:5–6). «5 Поистине, когда мы пришли в Македонию, плоть наша не имела никакого покоя. Но мы были стеснены отовсюду: отвне - нападения, внутри - страхи. 6 Но Бог, утешающий смиренных, утешил нас прибытием Тита». Телесные и душевные страдания Павла продолжились, когда он прибыл в Македонию (ср. 4:8-9; 11:22-33). Он столкнулся с внешними «конфликтами» (возможно, духовными нападениями; возможно, физическими) и внутренними «страхами» (возможно, беспокойством о том, как коринфяне могли получить письмо Тита и Павла, тем более что Тит не вернулся, как ожидалось.

Служители не застрахованы от бедствий, оппозиции и беспокойства, «но Бог» решает все. Он «утешает смиренных» (ср. 1:3-7; ср. Пс. 34:18), и в этом случае он утешал Павла. Посреди своих внешних конфликтов и внутренних страхов Павел утешался «прибытием Тита» (6б) – сознанием своей безопасности и личным воссоединением со своим коллегой по служению, особенно в свете оппозиции и одиночества, которое он испытал. Большое ободрение в служении — иметь коллег, от которых вы можете получить утешение в трудные времена, и с которыми вы можете наслаждаться общением.

б) Скорбь Павла об их грехе меняется на радость от их ответа (7:7-13а). «…и (нас утешил) не только прибытием его, но и утешение, которым он утешался о вас, перессказывая нам о вашем усердии, о вашем плаче, о вашей ревности по мне, так что я еще более обрадовался» (2 Кор. 7:7). Павел был воодушевлен их ответом Титу – «…утешением (утешением), которым он утешался от вас».

Павел был утешен (7:7а) тем фактом, что Тит и письмо, которое он принес от Павла, были хорошо приняты церковью в Коринфе, что они хорошо обращались с его коллегой по служению, и что их реакция на миссию Тита (а именно, доставка письма Павлу) была положительной. Это было источником большого утешения для Павла. И Павел «еще более обрадовался» их ответу для него.

Во-первых, он радуется еще больше из-за того, что они ответили ему лично (7:7б), как указано в:

а) «…вашем глубоком усердии… по мне». Они хотели увидеть Павла и, надо полагать, наладить отношения, возобновить отношения.

б) «…вашем плаче… по мне». Они явно сожалели о случившемся.

в) «…вашей ревности ко мне». Теперь их относительная дистанцированность от Павла сменяется рвением к нему — делать то, что он им поручил, и, может быть, даже защищать его.

Во-вторых, он еще больше радуется их духовному отклику на него (7:8-12). Павел, кажется, мучился с тем, как поступить с этим: «Ибо если я и огорчил вас своим письмом, не жалею об этом. И если я сожалел об этом, — так как я увидел, что письмо огорчило тебя, но только на время, — теперь я радуюсь…» (7:8-9а). С одной стороны, Павел, кажется, поначалу сожалел о том, что написал им «скорбное» письмо, ибо не хотел их огорчить. Почему так? Возможно, он не хотел, чтобы они неправильно отреагировали на его письмо. Возможно, он боялся быть излишне резким, и того, что они перестанут его слушать. Возможно, как их пастор, он изо всех сил пытался решить проблему, с одной стороны, а, с другой стороны, не хотел терять с ними отношения.

Это всегда риск конфронтации и борьбы, с которыми сталкиваются пастора, зная, что нужно делать, и все же рискуя быть отвергнутыми. Вот почему нам всегда нужно «говорить истину с любовью» (Еф. 4:15), никогда не «господствовать» над другими (1 Пет. 5:3), никогда не попирать людей ни в гневе, ни в духовном превосходстве. Но раз он написал им, то обрадовался, что сделал это, потому что их печаль была недолгой, «лишь на время» (7:8б), и потому что их печаль привела к покаянию: «Теперь я радуюсь, не потому что вы опечалились, но что вы опечалились к покаянию» (7:9а).

Почему их горе привело к покаянию? «Ибо вы опечалились, ради Бога» (7:9б). Их скорбь о случившемся (в допущенном среди них грехе и в их отношениях с Павлом) была скорбью по воле Божией, произведенной Богом. Это было не просто мгновенное чувство сожаления, а глубокая работа Бога в них. Результатом скорби по воле Бога было «чтобы вы не нисколько не понесли от нас вреда» (7:9в). Печаль, которая по Богу, не беспричинна - она ​​не имеет отрицательного действия; это не приводит к разрыву отношений (как, возможно, опасался Павел); оно ничего не отбирает, а возвращает утраченное. Нет, она во всех отношениях полезна — дает надежду, восстанавливает радость, примиряет в отношениях и т. д. «Ибо печаль ради Бога производит неизменное покаяние, которое ведет ко спасению без сожаления, а печаль мирская производит смерть (7:10). Это служение примирения, целью которого является «печаль ради Бога», результатом которой является «покаяние, ведущее ко спасению без сожаления».

«Печаль ради Бога» имеет совершенно иную причину и следствие, чем «мирская печаль». Мирская печаль ведет к смерти (ср. 2 Кор. 2:16), тогда как печаль ради Бога ведет к жизни. Это контраст. Печаль мирская вызвана обстоятельствами (потери, неудачи и т. д.); печаль ради Бога вызвана грехом. Печаль мирская приводит к разрыву отношений, отчаянию, возможно, даже к смерти (например, к самоубийству); печаль ради Бога приводит к спасению, к жизни, к спокойствию совести, к радости, к восстановленным отношениям, к примирению.

Печаль ради Бога” — это печаль не о себе, а ради Бога. Это (букв.) «печаль по Богу» - «как угодно Богу» (7:11а) - печаль, произведенная Богом и в ответ на Бога. Таким образом, печаль ради Бога ведет к искреннему покаянию во грехе — отвращению от греха, которое приводит к нарушению наших отношений с Богом и обращению к Богу с верой — и к примирению с Богом и с ближними. Такая печаль ради Бога и покаяние являются основой нашего спасения.

С другой стороны, «мирская печаль» не восстанавливает. Он не может восстановить то, что утеряно. Он не может отменить то, что сделано. Она не может дать покоя совести и мир в сердце. Он не может дать духовную жизнь. Оно производит только горечь, вину, отчаяние и сожаление. Но печаль ради Бога — это печаль о грехе, производящая покаяние и ведущая к спасению, о котором никогда не жалеют, потому что она приводит к восстановлению отношений с Богом. Более того, результатом печали ради Бога является то, что вы не проживаете остаток своей жизни в состоянии сожаления о том, что могло бы быть. Скорее, спасение и восстановление ваших отношений с Богом и друг с другом носит такой характер, что вы никогда не пожалеете о принятом решении.

Но почему Павел говорит о таком покаянии как о ведущем к «спасению», когда обращается к верующим? Он говорит о «покаянии» этих верующих, природа которого «ведет ко спасению». Хотя они были христианами и были спасены, их покаяние было того же характера, что и первоначальное, когда они были спасены. Павел не предполагает, что они были спасены и потеряны, а теперь снова спасены, но, скорее, их покаяние было истинным признаком их спасения; это полностью восстановило их к правильным отношениям с Богом.

Служитель примирения стремится и ищет печали ради Бога, выраженной в искреннем спасающем покаянии. Он справляется с конфронтацией таким образом, что она вызывает печаль ради Бога, которая 1) не разрывает их отношения; и 2) приводит к постоянному духовному результату.

Теперь Павел описывает, на что действительно похожа скорбь ради Богуа (в благочестивой манере); какие изменения он производит; как выглядит природа истинного покаяния: «Посмотрите, сколько усердия произвело в вас это — эта печаль ради Бога» (7:11а). Истинное покаяние производит полное преобразование мыслей и действий человека. Теперь у коринфян есть ревность делать то, что правильно перед Богом. Вместо того, чтобы пассивно наблюдать за греховным поведением среди них и хвастаться этим, они теперь полны энергии действовать для Бога. Как эта серьезность, это усердие выражается в их практике и в их отношении? Павел дает семь характеристик…

1) «Какое желание очиститься» (7:11б) – церковь очищается от соучастия в этом грехе.

2) «какое негодование» (7:11в) – гнев на грех. Теперь они увидели, что это было, и были праведно возмущены тем, что это происходило среди них, и они терпели это. Вот на что мы должны гневаться – на грех!

3) «Какой страх» (7:11г) – страх Божьего наказания; страх, что Божья святость была оскорблена; страх перед тем, что они сделали с «Божьим служителем»; страх перед тем, к чему мог привести их образ действий.

4) «Какое сильное желание» (7:11д) – желание примириться с Богом и с Павлом лицом к лицу; видеть его, подчиниться ему и быть послушным его учению. Они тосковали по прежним дням и своим отношениям с Богом и Павлом.

5) «Какая ревность» (7:11е) – вероятно, ревность о том, что они должны были делать в первую очередь, а именно о желании соблюдать дисциплину в церкви; готовность все исправить; стремление к святости и послушанию.

6) «Какая справедливость!» (7:11ж) – действие, предпринятое против греха, совершенного среди них. Это происходит от «ревности» навести порядок в церкви. Это согласуется с комментарием Павла в 2:5-11 о том, что они так усердно наказывали обидчика, что теперь им нужно было его простить.

7) Действительно, «во всем вы показали себя чистыми в этом вопросе» (7:11з) — вероятно, речь идет о 1 Кор. 5:1 и далее. но Павел не заявляет об этом прямо. Они сделали то, что было необходимо для соблюдения дисциплины в собрании, и это «очистило» их. Они больше не были участниками греха того человека.

Подхватывая свое замечание в 7:8 о скорбном (тяжелом) письме, Павел теперь объясняет, почему он написал его в первую очередь: «12 Итак, если я и писал вам, то не ради оскорбителя и не ради оскорбленного, но, чтобы вам открылось попечение наше о вас перед Богом. 13а Посему мы утешились утешением вашим» (7:12-13а).

Во-первых, он объясняет, почему он не написал строгое письмо. Он написал строгое письмо не ради «злодея» — сына, совершившего инцест с мачехой; тот, чье отлучение от церкви приказал Павел (1 Кор. 5:13); тот, кто причинил столько боли, но впоследствии раскаялся (2 Кор. 2:1-8). И строгое письмо он писал не ради «обиженного» — предположительно, мужа той мачехи. Заметьте, что с пасторской мудростью и благодатью Павел не использует имен — вопрос исчерпан, и нет никакой пользы в том, чтобы втаптывать имена людей в грязь. Он просто называет их так «тот, кто поступил неправильно» и «тот, кто был обижен».

Затем он объясняет, почему написал такое строгое письмо. Он написал это строгое письмо, чтобы в присутствии Бога они могли осознать, как сильно они действительно заботились о Павле, как серьезно относились к нему. Именно к такому результату привело его строгое письмо. И благодаря всему этому (его письму, их ответу, влиянию на церковь, отчету Тита и т. д.) «мы утешились».

в) хвастовство Павла ими подтверждается поддержкой Тита (7:13б-16).

« 13б Посему мы утешились утешением вашим, а еще более обрадованы мы радостью Тита, что вы все успокоили дух его. 14Итак я не остался в стыде, если чем-либо овас похвалился перед ним; но как вам мы говорили все истину, так и перед Титом похвала наша оказалась истинною» (7:13б-14).

На протяжении всего этого раздела Павел ищет позитива, положительного в ситуации (их ответ, поддержка Тита, его радость и т. д.), несмотря на лежащие в основе доказательства того, что у него все еще были проблемы в Коринфе, с которыми нужно было разбираться — например, их вызок авторитету Павла и т. д. (см. главы 10-13). Несмотря на все это, Павел утешается тем, что произошло в Коринфе (в частности, их реакцией на его суровое письмо), и еще больше утешается радостью Тита по поводу угощения, которое он получил от них, доставляя им его письмо.

Благодать и пасторская любовь Павла к коринфянам становятся очень очевидными. Едва ли можно было ожидать от него, учитывая все, что они сделали и сказали о нем, что он действительно будет хвастаться ими перед Титом. Но вместо того, чтобы послать к ним Тита с дурным впечатлением о них или применить суровые меры, он послал Тита в Коринф с положительной похвалой о них (хвастовством), что подтвердилось, как и все, что он сказал им, было истиной. В результате 1) любовь Тита к ним углубляется: «И его любовь к вам тем больше, чем он помнит о послушании всех вас и о том, как вы приняли его со страхом и трепетом» (7:15); и 2) уверенность Павла в них укрепляется: «Я радуюсь, что полностью уверен в вас» (7:16). Укрепив их взаимные отношения и выразив им свое доверие, он затем переходит к вопросу о приношении для бедных верующих в Иерусалиме в главах 8-9.

III. План Проповеди

Название: Учимся у Иисуса – Сокровище Царства (Мф. 13:44-46)

Тема: Открытие вечных богатств Божьего Царства

Подтема: Вы открываете вечные богатства, когда входите в Царство Небесное через Иисуса Христа.

1. Некоторые люди неожиданно натыкаются на сокровище Царства Христова (13:44).

2. Некоторые люди усердно ищут сокровище Царства Христа (13:45-46).

Related Topics: Pastors

The Centrality Of The Cross In Galatians

The subject of the cross is central to the structure of all four Gospels. Everything is arranged to lead up to this climax. They are Gospels, good news of what God has done in Christ to bring about our salvation. The way that the Gospels are put together shows that the means of our salvation is the cross.

The cross is also central to the apostolic commission to “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” (Mk. 16:15). Scripture assures us that 13 everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But that raises the question, 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent?” (Rom. 10:13-15). Preaching the gospel is the means of making known God’s provision by which people can be saved. The gospel does not ask us to save ourselves: it does not tell us to do something that will save us. Rather, it says that it is done. The cross event is what saves us; that is why Paul glories in it and why he preached it.

Related Topics: Soteriology (Salvation)

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