WOMEN PREACHERS, AND WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP

The attitude of some men who claim that women have no place in leadership and that the Bible is the basis for their view, only shows how selective they are when citing the scriptures. Well, let me tell you some things in the Word of God, they won’t tell you.

King Solomon respected the queen of Sheba (the ruler of a nation).

King Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned & went to her own country, she & her servants. ~ 1 Kings 10:13

The queen of Sheba was the head over a nation as a woman, and she was not despised by Solomon. She was honored by Solomon. In the New Testament, Jesus said the queen of Sheba would be a witness on the day of judgment against the unrighteous men of his generation who rejected the gospel.  ~ Luke 11:31

In Acts 8, Philip shared the gospel with, and consequently baptized a man who was a eunuch with great authority under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians (Acts 8:27). Candace was in authority over the men in Ethiopia, and Philip did not teach the eunuch to rebel against her. In fact Philip the evangelist had four daughters who had the gift of prophecy (Acts 21:9).

The first people commissioned to preach the gospel after the resurrection of Jesus were Mary Magdalene and the other Mary. They were commissioned by an angel at the empty tomb (Mt 28:5-7), and they were commissioned by Jesus (Mt 28:10). On the day of Pentecost there were women in the Upper Room who were filled with the Spirit and spoke with tongues that those who heard, heard in their own language as they were declaring the wonderful works of God (Acts 1:14; 2:1).

This fulfilled what had been prophesied by the prophet Joel in the Old Testament.

And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy… ~ Acts 2:17

Prophecy is a speaking gift of the Spirit, and this prophecy given by the prophet Joel and fulfilled on the day of Pentecosts certifies that women can be gifted to speak on behalf of God. The attitude that scripture has towards women is not the attitude espoused by some men in the institutionalized church.

The leadership of Deborah who was a leader in ancient Israel is recorded for us, and the triumphs of faith by Sara, Rahab, and other unnamed women are praised in Hebrews 11. Two of the apostle Paul’s close companions in ministry were a husband and wife team, Aquila and Priscilla.

In Acts 18:24-26 Aquila and Priscilla came across a Jew named Apollos whom the Bible describes as an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures. However, he only knew the baptism of John (the baptist). After Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and taught him the way of God more perfectly. Apollos became a ministering companion of Paul, after being mentored in part by a woman named Priscilla who taught him the way of God more perfectly.

In his letters to the churches, Paul instructed wives to submit to their own husbands in the Lord. Notice that Paul did not tell the wives to submit to every man. In response Paul instructed the husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church and gave himself for it. Women are called to submit to their own husbands in the Lord, not to be subservient to all men. The idea that men have a superior status than women is an institutionalized ideology and not taught in scripture. In fact there is more commands given to men that are not obeyed than there are given regarding women.

For instance, men are told explicitly to keep silent in the church with regards to speaking  tongues if there is no interpreter present.

If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. ~ 1 Corinthians 14: 27-28.

People see what they want to see, and close their eyes to what they don’t want to see. The reality is, God works through women just as he works through men, and there is nothing that those with the male dominance attitude can do about it.

There are general teachings about how women are to conduct themselves in godliness, but there are far more instructions for men, and I’d dare say most of the male preachers who opposed women preachers, don’t obey the commands of scriptures given to men.

If my wife wants to share the gospel, she is free to do so, because Christ is her spiritual head. I am her domestic head with regards to our family. I am not her spiritual head. Christ is. Christ is the head of the church, where there is no distinction between male and female.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. ~ Galatians 3:28

The husband is to be the leader of the family and the wife is not to usurp his authority in the household, but women can be called by God to share the gospel, prophecy, and teach the Word of God. We have examples of ALL THREE in the New Testament.

There is no scripture that explicitly teaches that women cannot preach or teach God’s word.

Paul’s mention of women being silent in the church has a context, and in that same context men are also instructed as to when they should be silent as well. In fact, Paul tells the whole church at Corinth (men and women), they can all prophesy. In chapter 11 Paul instructs the orderly fashion in which women should pray and prophesy in the church. In the same context, Paul also gives instructions for men.

At the end of the day, we should not forbid anyone from sharing the gospel of Christ. If a woman has received the grace of God, she is free to testify, for the scripture says, “let the redeemed of the Lord say so!”

DECONSTRUCTING CHRISTIAN NATIONALISM: POST ONE

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. ~ John 18:36

Patriotism to one’s physical nation is not a spiritual virtue. There is nothing sinful or wrong with patriotism in general, but it must be secondary to our loyalty to Christ whose Kingdom is not of this world. Our loyalty to Christ must never be draped in patriotism towards our country. Our patriotism must be kept in check by the grace of God. As believers in Christ, our loyalty is first and foremost to Christ, his kingdom, and the spiritual nation in Christ to which we belong as servants of Jesus.

The apostle Peter tells us, ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light… ~ 1 Peter 2:9

The redeemed of the Lord (the holy nation in Christ) are redeemed souls from every nation, kindred, people, tongue

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. ~ Revelation 5:9-10

After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. ~ Revelation 7:9-15

I recently listened as a minister made the following argument:

We were commanded to disciple the nations, baptizing them. What is a baptized nation? It is a christian nation. How many of these christian nations are there supposed to be? No set number is given but the simple answer is all of them. All the nations of men are to be brought into submission to Christ, but in the current climate is there any possible way to seek to make America a Christian nation without drawing the charge of christian nationalism? No, there’s no way to do this without drawing that charge. Should we care about this? Not even a little bit. Some will say that it is not possible to make a nation into a Christian nation. Nations don’t have immortal souls and cannot be Christian, to which I would reply, why did Jesus tell us to do it then?

The mistake this minister makes is his interpretation of Jesus’s words from Matthew 28. After his resurrection, Jesus commanded his apostles to go and make disciples of all nations. This is known as the great commission and how we interpret it can lead us into true New Testament evangelism or politically motivated error. When the New Testament is surveyed, it becomes clear that no apostle ever pursued or taught christianizing nations. On the contrary, we see that the Holy Spirit led the church from the law of Moses into the grace of Christ, and the preaching of the gospel spread to all nations. It was not isolated to the people of Israel.

Making disciples of all nations when interpreted according to the whole counsel of the New Testament, is clearly understood that we are called to take the gospel to the whole world. The Kingdom of God is no longer isolated to the Jews as it was under Moses, Now that Christ has died and risen again, people from every nation are invited into the Kingdom of God.

As we follow the teachings of the apostles in the book of Acts and in the epistles, we never see any attempt to christianize a nation’s society. Over and over again, there is a distinction made between the church (the holy spiritual nation of believers in Christ) and those outside the church as expressed by Paul when he says, I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh… ~ Romans 9:1-3

Paul had sorrow in his heart for his fellow Israelites who were outside the grace of Christ. They were his kinsmen, his fellow countrymen, but not part of the same spiritual body to which Paul belonged in Christ. In his letter to the Philippians Paul says the following:

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world… ~ Philippians 2:13-15

As Christians, we belong to God’s holy nation (the spiritual body of believers in Christ), while living in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation that does not know God. Thus we are called to shine as lights in the world while holding forth the word of life. This is how New Testament evangelism works, and when we shine as lights from God’s Kingdom we make disciples of people from every nation, we do not make nations (society) disciples of Christ.

The Judaizers which Paul contended with and refuted in his letter to the Galatians, were Jewish nationalist. They were seeking to proselyte the Gentiles into converted Jews. It wasn’t enough to these extremists that the Gentiles had believed the gospel of Christ and received the Spirit. They wanted the Gentiles to go beyond the cross of Christ and become Jewish proselytes (through circumcision and adherence to the Law). This is the same anti-Christ spirit at work within Christian nationalism in our modern times here in the United States.

For the Christian nationalist, American exceptionalism is synonymous with Biblical Christianity. Their ideals of what America is and their belief in the “infallibility” of the U.S. Constitution is a fallacy. The belief that American exceptionalism is eternally blessed of God is leading many away from the grace of Christ.

In his letter to the Galatians Paul says, For ye have heard of my conduct in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it. And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. ~ Galatians 1:13-14

Paul makes the above statement after telling the Galatians that he marveled that they were so soon being removed from him who had called them to the grace of Christ, unto another gospel.

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. ~ Galatians 1:6-12

Paul is telling the Galatians at the very outset of his letter that those in the Jews religion, in which he once excelled above his peers, are preaching another gospel, for they advocating Jewish identity (via circumcision and adherence to the law) rather than glorying in Christ.

These religious Jews (aka, Judaizers) did not simply want to bring the Gentiles under some sort of “works righteousness” but rather, they were seeking to make Jewish proselytes of the Gentiles. It is this “Jewish supremacy” based on the Jew’s religion that Paul is countering so strongly in Galatians for it was in opposition to the truth of the gospel just as Christian nationalism is in our day.

Because of the cross, there is no privilege of one ethnic group, society, or physical nation above another in the sight of God. In Galatians 5:11 Paul says, “And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision (the mark of Jewish identity) why do I yet suffer persecution? Then is the offense of the cross ceased.

The cross of Christ is an offense to christian nationalism!

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Post Two: https://rootedandgroundedinchrist.com/2022/07/19/deconstructing-christian-nationalism-post-two/

CHRISTIAN NATIONALISM: ANOTHER SPIRIT

A truth in scripture that is beginning to resonate in my heart is where Paul mentions another Jesus, another spirit, and another gospel. I have always focused more on the words, another Jesus and another gospel, but recently Paul’s mention of another spirit has gotten my attention.

Paul refers to the Corinthians receiving another spirit through false teachers different from the Spirit of God they had received through the preaching of Christ and the gospel which Paul had ministered to them.

The gospel of Christian nationalism promotes another Jesus and those who accept it receive another spirit corrupting their faith. This has happened with many unsuspecting believers. Those under the influence of this false gospel justify hate and embrace lies and violence that their faith in Christ teaches them against. There is no fruit of the Spirit of the Lord in them towards their political opponents. They believe that they are on a crusade for righteousness fighting a flesh and blood enemy, and the end justifies the means.

They have been deceived by another gospel and this dangerous apostasy is happening right before our very eyes here in the United States.

SPEAKING THINGS INTO EXISTENCE

There are many unbiblical doctrines that circulate among Christians, especially among American evangelicals. One of those is the claim that we have creative ability with the words of our mouth, thus we are to speak things into existence. Therefore, If we are struggling financially we speak prosperity into existence. If we are sick or have a disease we are to speak healing into existence.

This doctrine has become so prevalent that in some places public prayers are no longer heartfelt requests humbly petitioning God, but “preachy declarations” instead, because we must “declare and decree” and boldly speak them into existence.

How did we get here?

The speaking it into existence doctrine stems from teachings within the Word of Faith movement, which at one time (30 plus years ago) did have a more balanced approach to the teachings of scripture concerning the words that we speak.

The Bible has much to say about our speech, but never once does the Bible teach that we have creative power in our words as God does. The biblical emphasis concerning the importance of wholesome speech has to do with expressions of faith in God, edifying and encourage others, praise and thanksgiving towards God rather than murmuring and complaining, and wholesome speech which is becoming of godliness, purity and good sound doctrine.

Unfortunately, the importance of having wholesome speech has morphed into a belief that we have creative power and thus should speak into existence whatever it may be that we desire. Yet no one in scripture served God in this manner. If we can’t find an example in scripture of any servant of God who held to this practice, why would we think we could? And if we can plainly understand that God’s servants in the scriptures never practiced speaking things into existences, why would we think we could twist some of their writings to justify such practices?

The truth is, the idea of speaking things into existence appeals to our carnality, but wholesome speech which is becoming of godliness requires true spiritual growth and maturity, and therein lies the difference.

One very popular Word of Faith minister who has taught speaking things into existence, claimed that Psalm 119:72 speaks of “the law of the mouth.” He followed up by saying, “the Bible says the law of the mouth is better than silver and gold. Why? Cause that’s how we make it.”

Here is what Psalm 119:72 actually says: The law of THY mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.

This text is not referring to some spiritual law that we put into motion with our words. It is referring to God’s law that came from the mouth of God, and the Psalmist is declaring his desire for God’s law rather than the wealth and riches of this world. In fact, much of Psalm 119 is dedicated to praising God and glorifying his law. Psalm 119 begins by saying, Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. ~ v.1

Consider also these verses from Psalm 119:

Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. ~ v.18

Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously. ~ v.29

Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. ~ v. 34

The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from thy law.~ v. 51

I have remembered thy name, O Lord, in the night, and have kept thy law. ~ v. 55

Verses 61, 70, 72, 77, 85, 92, 97, 109, 113,126, 136, 142, 150, 153, 163,165, and 174 all make reference to God’s law as Thy law”. Now consider verses 43-45:

And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments. So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever. And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.

Speaking God’s word (God’s law, precepts, commands, and instructions) was a practice encouraged in the Old Testament as an expression of love, dedication, and service towards God. It had absolutely nothing to do with speaking things into existence because of having “god-like” creative power.

In Psalm 119, the Psalmist prays, “Remove from me the way of lying”. If the Psalmist had believed he had creative power in his words, why wouldn’t he have just removed the way of lying from himself?

And again, therein lies another problem with the speak it into existence doctrine. It plants the idea in the minds and hearts of people that they are somewhat self-sufficient with God-like creative abilities in their words. Yet the Psalmist declares “I am poor and needy” in his seeking after God (Ps 40:17; 70:5).

In the book of the Revelation Jesus rebukes the church of the Laodiceans for saying “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” Jesus then tells them that they do not know that they are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. ~ Revelation 3:17

If there were a “law of the mouth” by which we could create with our words as the minister mentioned above has suggested, what then was the problem with the Laodiceans claim to being rich, and why would Jesus give them such a rebuke?

And again, here lies another problem with the speaking it into existence doctrine. It deceives people into thinking they are spiritual when they are not. It deceives them from acknowledging their true spiritual condition before God. It leads them into a false sense of spirituality and gives futile ground to pride, but God hears the desire of the humble (Ps 10:17).

There is so much more I could write on this topic but this will suffice for now. The Bible does have much to say about the importance of our words, but never once does it teach us that we have creative power like God. This belief is not scriptural and is actually akin to sorcery and witchcraft.

HOW GOD COMPLETES HIS WORK IN US

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ… ~ Philippians 1:6

Often texts such as the one cited above are quoted as a kind of stand alone truth that is thought to just happen rather than being understood within the context to which they belong.

When we consider the context, we find that Paul does not imply that God is going to automatically complete the work he has begun in us, and we have other texts throughout the New Testament which bring balance to such notions. Our obedience and continuance in the truth have something to do with our walking in the blessings of God and the completion of God’s work in us.

For example, consider Paul’s words from the very next chapter of Philippians:

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, (you) work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain. ~ Philippians 2:12-16

As we can see here, Paul instructs the Philippians to live in truth and obedience because God was at work within them and God’s work in them required obedience on their part. Paul goes on to say, “Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.” (v. 17)

The completion of the work of God in us requires something from us and as we can see from Paul’s opening in chapter one, this was the aim of Paul’s prayers and labor for the Philippians. Paul was willing to give himself unselfishly both in service and in prayer for their furtherance in the faith. And because of this, Paul was confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in the Philippians would perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. ~ Philippians 1:3-11

The confidence that Paul had that God would complete the work he had begun in the Philippians came from his heartfelt and earnest prayers for them. Paul had prayed so earnestly for them that he says, “I have you in my heart” and “I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.” Prayer is powerful when our heart is invested and we all need to learn more about heartfelt earnest prayers.

Unfortunately in many places prayer has been reduced to declarations often expressed more in a preachy manner rather than sincere and heartfelt requests. Paul’s confidence came from his “requests.” to God on behalf of the Philippians – I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy…

Nowhere do you see anyone in the New Testament praying in a preachy, declarative manner in which they are taking authority or dominion. Yet over and over again, we read of prayers being offered as requests and petitions with heartfelt sincerity – that this is what God works with to complete his work in us.

PEOPLE DIE, AND GOD ALONE REMAINS

Rooted and Grounded In Christ

Just days before Smith Wigglesworth suddenly passed away, he sit with a young man of whom he was mentoring. Mr. Wigglesworth wept as he looked at all the invitations of those who wanted him to come speak at their churches and or ministries.

He said to his young friend, “people have their eyes on me, God will take me out of the way.”

A week or so later, he was dead.

Today, people continue to put their eyes on men they esteemed as “great” and they even do so with Smith Wigglesworth. Yet Wigglesworth was broken that people had their eyes on him in such a manner, rather than having their eyes on God.

When Joshua became the leader of Israel after the death of Moses, God said to Joshua, “Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land…

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SEEDTIME AND HARVEST IN GENESIS EIGHT

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. ~ Genesis 8:22

I heard a minister attempting to prove his point about monetary giving and tithing using this verse. Unfortunately, those who use this verse as a reference to monetary offerings because of the words seedtime and harvest, are simply mishandeling this text.

There is absolutely no reference in this text to monetary offerings. This text is talking about the cycle of seasons on the earth. Notice the context in which seedtime and harvest is mentioned: While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

God said this in response to Noah’s burnt offerings which were a type of Christ. God was so moved that he said in his heart that he would never again curse the ground for man’s sake.

And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more everything living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. ~ Genesis 8:20-22

The intent here is that the earth would continue its cycle of seasons, yielding seeds and producing harvests, and being the habitation every day and night that God had created it to be for mankind. As Noah and his family embarked on the new world after leaving the Ark, they were not giving monetary offerings to preachers because there weren’t any except for Noah whom the New Testament refers to as a preacher of righteousness.

However, they would have to plant and grow food, and endure the heat and the cold as the days and the nights passed. If you are a minister and you are using this text for teaching about monetary offerings, please stop. It’s not talking about that. There are plenty of other texts you can refer to if you want to get your point across about giving. This should not be one of them. This text is not talking about “sowing seed” i.e., giving money. It’s talking about things that grow from seeds in the soil of the earth such as crops, trees, vines, gardens, etc.

Please have integrity when you handle the Word of God and teach it correctly. Don’t build into texts things that are not there and claim that is what the Word says. Have integrity when you handle God’s holy scriptures.

Blessings…

GOD’S FAITHFULNESS TO ALL GENERATIONS

One of the funny things about the Christian faith and indeed about the Bible is that it seems to be, as it were, designed that every generation has to chew it through afresh. ~ N.T. Wright

One truth that stands firm, but is often overlooked within western Christianity is God’s promises to all generations. Too often Christians embrace a worldview filled more with despair than the promises of God. And with so much emphasis on the last days, many sincere Christians often feel that if the church doesn’t do something to bring about some kind of revival, the godless culture around us is going to swallow up the Christian faith.

Rather than a worldview of despair, the Bible encourages a worldview of hope. Namely, hope in God’s faithfulness to all generations: For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. ~ Psalm 100:5

The truth of God endures to all generations and no culture, no matter how godless, can silence the truth of God. God’s word will make it to all who reach out for him.

Consider that one of the Messianic prophecies about Jesus was this:

I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah. And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O Lord: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints. ~ Psalm 89:3-5

According to the book of Acts, God’s promise that the Messiah would reign from the throne of David was fulfilled in the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus at the right hand of God. The glorified Christ at the right hand of God is God’s promise of faithfulness to every generation! Now consider Psalm 33:11

The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. ~ Psalm 33:11

Throughout the book of Psalm there are many texts which speak of God’s faithfulness to every generation. One text that many Christians have heard is Psalm 119:89, which says, For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven. Yet it is the very next verse that people often don’t consider: Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth. ~ v. 90

Have you ever considered that God is faithful to reveal himself to every generation? Didn’t his word make its way to you? Sure it did! And it will make its way to the coming generation and the generation after that as well.

The canon of scriptures that we refer to as the Holy Bible, shows us over and over again how God worked from one generation to another, and how God called people he raised up in every generation to speak his word and uphold his righteousness.

Enoch, Abraham, Moses, David, Daniel, all lived and served God in different generations. There truly is nothing unique about us, we only think there is. God is the one who works all things after the counsel of his own will, and while we live in our generation, we have the opportunity to serve him as co-laborers with him and to glorify him. The advancement of God’s Kingdom is not dependent on us. it is dependent on his faithfulness to all generations.

Thy name, O Lord, endureth for ever; and thy memorial, O Lord, throughout all generations. ~ Psalm 135:13

One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. ~ Psalm 145:4

Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth
throughout all generations. ~ Psalm 145:13

The Lord shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion,
unto all generations. Praise ye the Lord. ~ Psalm 146:10

Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings. For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation. ~ Isaiah 51:7-8

Thou, O Lord, remainest for ever; thy throne
from generation to generation. ~ Lamentations 5:19

NEW TESTAMENT EVANGELISM (PART TWO)

When evangelical street preachers stand on street corners and college campuses and condemn those whom they know nothing about as being wicked, God hating, reprobate, and headed strength to Hell, they often do so because they themselve have a misunderstanding of what the gospel is and how it should be communicated. 

There are some street preachers who are doing it right, but far too many times, street preachers come across as hateful, judgmental, and harsh. This is because they have not patterned their evangelism after the examples given to us in the New Testament.

When Jesus conversed with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, he did not tell her she was sinner under the wrath of God. He did not place her into a “category” in which she was no better than the Pharisees who opposed God. Instead, Jesus met her on a personal level and had a conversation with her about her life, and this is what true New Testament evangelism should look like. The gospel is custom designed to minister to every heart.

When Jesus spoke with Nicodemus the conversation was different because Nicodemus was an educated religious leader. Still, there was no condemnation from Jesus.

When the woman who was caught in adultery was brought to Jesus, Jesus did not condemn her. Instead he forgave her and told her to go and sin no more.

There were times in scripture that certain groups of people were warned of God’s judgment, and this only happened when the gospel was rejected by the hardhearted opponents to the gospel. Yet it was not the method used in every case.

For example, the Bible tells us that Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them (Acts 8:5), and that the people believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ. ~ v.12

Later, this same Philip came across a man who was reading the book of Isaiah the prophet, and Philip took the opportunity to share Christ with him.

And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. ~ Acts 8:27-28

Notice that this man had come to Jerusalem to worship. He had yet to believe that Jesus is the Son of God because he had not yet heard the gospel. As we continue to read, there is no evidence that Philip categorized him as a God hating sinner. Unfortunately, some modern day street preachers would have.

People who hate God do not make pilgrimages to go worship God nor do they follow up their worship by reading scripture.

Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. ~ v. 29-31

Notice that this man was reading the book of the prophet Isaish. At this point he had no idea that Jesus is the Son of God, but his heart is searching for God. The text tells us “the Spirit said to Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.”

We need more Spirit led evangelism and less pre-scripted messages which misinterpret Paul’s words concerning there is none righteous, and none that seeks after God. This man was seeking after God, and consequently the Spirit of the Lord led Philip to him to tell him about Jesus.

In Romans when Paul says, there is none righteous no not one, and there is none that seeks after God, he is not referring to every single person. The very people in the Bible disproves this logic and interpretation. There is a greater context that Paul is addressing when he makes those statements, which is referring specifically to those who reject God and justify their sins. That is a teaching for another article.

We can see that this man in Acts 8 was seeking after God, for he had made a journey to worship, and was reading the book of the prophet Isaiah, and as a result the Spirit led Philip to him. Philip joined the man on his chariot and shared the gospel about Jesus from the very text the man was reading which was from Isaiah 53.

The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and
preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. ~ Acts 8:32-38 

There is not a trace of evidence that Philip preached judgment and condemnation to the man. There is no evidence that Philip told him how awful of a sinner he was and how he was a hater of God who needed to repent. Philip preached Christ to him, a man whose heart was already seeking for God.

In Acts 10 we read of another man who was seeking after God, and how the Spirit of God sent Peter to him to declare the gospel to him and his household.

There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, of the band called the Italian band, a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thy alms are to come up for a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the seas side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do. ~ Acts 10:1-6

Notice that Cornelius was a devout man and he feared God. In Paul’s reference of “there is none righteous, no not one” and “there is none that seeks after God” Paul also cites the text that says, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

However, we can see from the text in Acts 10 that Cornelius did fear God, so Paul’s words in Romans are not a reference to every person who has not yet heard and believed the gospel. Yet too many street Preachers preach as though it is part of the gospel message concerning all people. It is not. Instead, it is a wrong interpretation of Paul’s letter to the Romans. In fact Paul himself refutes such interpretations in Acts 13 when he declared the gospel to those who feared God.

Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent. ~ Acts 13:26

How can the word of Salvation be sent to those who fear God if absolutely no one fears God? Bad theology, and bad interpretation of scripture make for bad evangelism which tends to bring a reproach on the gospel. It’s time for that to change.

In my next teaching on this topic we will pick up right here, and continue with the salvation of Cornelius and his household. Until then, may the Lord to guide you in your interactions with others whose hearts the Lord may have already opened to the gospel as he did with Lydia, whom we will read about as well.

Part One
https://rootedandgroundedinchrist.com/2022/02/06/new-testament-evangelism-part-one/

NEW TESTAMENT EVANGELISM (PART ONE)

This is the first of a series of articles I would like to write addressing the topic of New Testament evangelism.

If you haven’t noticed, the influence of the American evangelical church has been in decline for quite some time. Rather than having a good reputation among those outside the church, many evangelicals are now viewed as religious extremists who only care about themselves, and their own political views.

This opinion among unbelievers is not without merit, and many preachers have become bolder in their political views using their pulpits to demonize  those who hold differing views. Ironically, when those same ministers get push-back from people who have been insulted by their harsh rhetoric, they often play the persecution card and lead their followers down a path that is even more self centered.

Lost in all of this is the call to live for Christ in such a manner that shines the light of God’s love and kindness for all people.

In his instructions for those who desire the office of a bishop (a Pastor) Paul writes, “he must have a good reputation with those outside the church.” ~ 1 Timothy 3:7

In his letter to Titus, Paul writes something similar.

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. ~ Titus 2:7-8

Harsh, hateful, and political rhetoric is not godly behavior and brings a reproach on the gospel of Christ, and because of such, many evangelicals need a refresher course regarding true New Testament evangelism.

Consider that during Paul’s conversion experience, God sent a devout man with a good reputation to pray for Paul.

And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus. And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him. ~ Acts 22:11-13

Notice that Ananias had a good reputation among the Jews where he lived. How we live matters and how we represent Christ to those outside the faith matters.

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. ~ Matthew 5:13- 16

In 1 Timothy, Paul says the following concerning the gospel.

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. ~ 1 Timothy 1:15-17

Evangelicals need to be reminded that Christ came into the world to save sinners and Paul refers to this as “a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation…” 

A faithful saying is a timeless message, an enduring truth. Paul says, this faithful saying is worthy of all acceptation. This means it’s something we must never forget and always be mindful of. I think this is why Paul says in the next breath, “of whom I am Chief.” Paul did not view himself as the chief of sinners because of a sense of guilt, but rather from a heart of gratitude.

Paul never wanted to forget that he once was lost and God had mercy on him. Paul then tells Timothy that his own salvation was a pattern of God’s great salvation to those whom God would save after him. Paul understood the depth of his sinful past, and even so God was merciful, for Christ had come into the world to save sinners. 

In his letter to Titus, Paul tells Titus to remind the people to be examples of godliness with regards to governing authorities, and to speak evil of no man, and not to be brawlers (abusive, fighting, etc.) but rather be gentle, showing meekness to all men (not only to Christians, but all men) because we too were at one time foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving different lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. ~ Titus 3:1-3

Paul tells us that we were saved from such things because “the kindness and love of God our Savior towards all men appeared” (v.4). The grace of God that brings salvation works through kindness and love to save people from their sins. 

Too many evangelicals are sending the wrong message of us vs. them. We are not an exclusive group whom God favors and while hating sinners. God forbid! Instead, we are people who have been saved by the grace of God and at one time we too were lost and we should never forget that. If we do, we forget our calling and our purpose. – we forget the gospel.

Christ came into the world to save sinners and has called us as co-laborers with him so that through us the sweet fragrance of the knowledge Christ might be known in every place, so that the world can taste and see that the Lord is gracious.

Part Two
https://rootedandgroundedinchrist.com/2022/02/07/new-testament-evangelism-part-two/