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Harmony of the gospels

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36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. 37 And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. 38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.
Whether you sow or reap you can receive blessing from God in the spiritual world because it is the Lord who is doing the work for you. It is the Lord who died, and the Holy Spirit who does the work in the unbeliever’s life, in accordance with the Father's plan. Many people think about what you have said to them for a long time, they move on and meet someone else and make a decision for the Lord.
You can rejoice for sowing seed that others reap. It is not of great personal consequence who leads the person to the Lord, it is God who gets the glory, but we all share the blessings. Beware of those who function like a "head-hunter" in the evangelism area, which could well be an indication of the function of pride and the work of their old sin nature.
Who has been working on the Samaritan woman? The answer is that Holy Spirit has been working on her through the words of Moses. The same applies to us today. When you witness using the scriptures remember you are fellow labourers with those who have gone ahead, including the very apostles whose words the person hears from you.
The spiritual harvester can gather his harvest without waiting four months. Jesus is reaping a harvest right now by the conversion of this woman.
39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. 40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his own word; 42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
Many of the Samaritans believed on the Lord because of what the woman said before they even got to the Lord. Some of them believed immediately and they asked Him to stay - and He stayed two days and many more believed because of His own word. After that period He travelled on into Galilee.
Again the Greek tenses are seen in verse 39 where the action of the participle of matureo meaning to witness precedes the action of the main verb which is the aorist tense of pisteuo meaning to believe, the aorist tense indicating belief at a point in time.
The enthusiasm of the woman is used by God and leads to the people of the town accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour. She brings her people to Christ and after two solid days of teaching others are converted and those who believed previously were built up in the faith.
As the Lord is our example to follow in all things, this indicates that we need to spend two full days at least with new converts to stabilise them to a stage where they can survive and grow. You need to have a weekend teach in, at least, so that if someone accepts the Lord on Friday you spend the weekend with them and teach them so that they can be stabilised in their new faith and start to grow.
Jesus remained in Sychar in a continuous revival, a most unexpected experience when one recalls the feeling between the Jews and the Samaritans in John 4:9.

Be sensitive to each event in life looking for what God wants to show you through it.
We should not argue about anything with an unbeliever, but concentrate on what is important and of eternal worth.
In evangelism there is always a point where you can meet with the unbeliever. You have to be sensitive to what they are saying and seek out the common point on which to start.
Remember our job is not to save them, our job is to give them the facts, not get in the way, and not distract them onto others issues.
Evangelism is preaching the same truth individually, which is going to challenge each person very specifically.
If you are taught to always use the same approach you are not using the Biblical pattern of evangelism. Matthew 28:11, John 10:10.
We must keep the significance of the baptism of the Spirit and filling of the Spirit apart although at the point of salvation both occur. This is why Peter was said to have been filled with the Spirit at Pentecost. The filling continues until one sins.
Let us walk as we ought in the daily moment by moment filling of the Holy Spirit!
Be sensitive to the person you are talking to. Pray for sensitivity so that you may be aware as to where the opportunity lies.
Do not be put off if the person answers the gospel with a joke. Bounce back to them with something that is going to nail them. When unbelievers make a joke at the hearing of the gospel they are normally under conviction.
We as believers need to be sensitive in the area of sin. We should not become so morally indignant that we do not give the gospel. Quite often it is the immoral who are converted as they are under no illusion as far as sin in their lives is concerned.
You need to bring it back to the person, "Where are you going to spend eternity? How about you?"
Jesus says to the woman that the hour comes when it does not matter where you worship but it does matter that you are worshipping in spirit and in truth. This can only happen if you have the Holy Spirit and have accepted the one who is the way, truth and life.
The Lord says that she does not know what she worships but salvation is of the Jews. In this case salvation means that the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ will come from the Jews. They that worship Him shall worship Him in Spirit and in truth.
Don't be like Pilate and get involved in a sectarian fight about rituals. Don't be side-tracked from the purpose of leading the soul to Christ.
There is now no room to call Jesus master or teacher He is either who He claims to be or a fraud. The Lord Jesus Christ makes this claim, prove it or not.
Giving the gospel is giving a challenge. It is giving the Word of God to people and they believe it or not. Here it is, it is fact, prove Me wrong. Is He the one or must we seek another?
We must give the unbeliever information that Jesus Christ is not just a good man, a Jew or a Prophet He is the Son of God.
You must always be sensitive to the work of the Holy Spirit or you will miss opportunities for service. We have to make sure we are doing the will of God.
Food profits us and keeps us going but God's will is more important. God's Word must be mixed with faith.
Are we ready to cross barriers to confront someone with the gospel? This is our task.
No matter what part you play in the giving out of the gospel you are co-workers with not only people alive at this time but right back through history.
No-one witnesses alone, if we are witnessing through the Word of God.
We often praise God for the people saved in an evangelistic outreach and we haven't spent any time preparing for their feeding and early growth. If a health system brought babies into the world and then let them stay out in the cold nights, after having a party to welcome the births, we would think that place was sick or criminal, yet we do this in the church!
As pastors we have a responsibility to provide food for the young saints, and to do so quickly that they might survive the first satanic attacks after their new birth. We then have the responsibility for ensuring there is provision of a church fellowship within which they can grow strong.
Taking the word of God in is only half the story however, for food only profits if it is then turned into muscle by hard work and exercise. Food taken in by people who don't do anything becomes fat! We need to get busy and apply the Word.
Turn to and read, Hebrews 4:2. It is, "believe and apply", that is the demand when we open the Word of God. Read on to verse 7, and then verse 12.

1. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is mentioned in (1 Corinthians 12:13) "By means of one spirit are we all baptised into one body". The Baptism of the Spirit unites believers into the Body of Christ at the point of salvation.
2. The Baptism of the Spirit is different to His other ministries: indwelling, filling, sealing, regeneration, distributing spiritual gifts, all of which also occur at the point of salvation.
3. The basis of unity and union of believers is achieved by Baptism of the Spirit (Ephesians 4:5) "One Lord, one faith, one baptism" - we have one faith in one Lord and receive one baptism, which unites us in the Body of Christ.
4. The implication of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is given in (Galatians 3:26-28) - all believers are united and "equal" in standing before God.
5. The Baptism of the Spirit provides identification with Christ - as the Body of Christ, we share everything that He has (e.g. righteousness, heirship, priesthood, kingship, etc) (Ephesians 1:3, Colossians 2:12)
6. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit was promised by Jesus Christ. (John 14:19-20, Acts 1:5)
7. The Baptism of the Spirit did not occur in Old Testament times. It is unique to the Church Age. Only Church Age believers are "in Christ" - that is, part of the Body (and the Bride) of Christ. (Colossians 1:25-26)
8. The Baptism of the Spirit begins the Church Age. In (Acts 1:5) Jesus said "Ye shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit not many (10) days hence". In (Acts 2:3) no mention of the Baptism of the Spirit is made but the experiential side of these happenings are described. In (Acts 11:15-17) Peter says that they received the Baptism of the Spirit just as it was in the beginning and quotes (Acts 1:5).
9. The Baptism of the Spirit has nothing to do with water baptism, nor with speaking in tongues. The Baptism of the Spirit is not an experience; it cannot be seen, felt, or experienced, it occurs instantaneously at salvation. (aorist tense excludes experience - "once and for all") (l Corinthians 12:13)
10. The incidence of tongues at Pentecost was because many nations were present in Jerusalem at that time. Tongues fulfilled two requirements, evangelisation and the first warning of expulsion of the Jews from the land which occurred in 70 AD (Isaiah 28:11)

1. Definition:- Volition or free will is the responsibility before God to choose different ends and means in life.
2. The above definition does not say that one has the power to do what you choose but it does give the opportunity to choose.
3. God gave Adam a choice in the garden in (Genesis 2:16, 17) where God told the man "thou shalt not eat" in the imperative mood which is a command.
4. Free will gives you the opportunity to want to accomplish things in conformity with God's will without having the natural ability to do so. (1 Kings 3:5-10) Solomon in this case wanted to judge but could not because of his own limitations.
5. In (Psalm 13) David's free will continued to be positive even though he had not been successful.
6. One of the reasons for the delay in the answering of prayer requests is to allow the strengthening of free will to desire to do God's will.
7. Free will in both believer and unbeliever. (John 7:17)
8. Free will in giving. (2 Corinthians 8:12)
9. Free will cannot be coerced or compromised thus Christianity is a matter of obedience. (2 Corinthians 5:10)
10 As God is to judge all men it means that man is responsible for his actions and that all normal members of the human race have free will. (Revelation 20:11-15)
11. Relationship of free will is vertical, between man and God not man and man. (Ephesians 6:5-9)
12. Because man is subject to judgement there is an age of accountability as portrayed by the "rich young ruler".
13. Animals and plants are not judged.
14. Free will also puts the responsibility on both ends and means. An example of the right end but wrong means is the sin unto death of Moses. (Numbers 20)
15. By application just because God is blessing a ministry, in the case of Moses by providing water it does not mean that the person is necessarily in God's will. God blesses through his grace and not necessarily because they are doing things by God's way.
16. Human viewpoint attack on free will - Determinism.

(a) The concept is that if one starts out with any physical item and I know everything there is regarding it and the laws that control it then I can dogmatically predict the future state of that item.

(b) This concept is incorrect as shown by the power of prayer (James 5:17).

(c) It is possible for God to manipulate His universe (Acts 16:26).

17. Types of miracles in the bible

(a) Natural - a variation of a natural law

(i) Elijah and the drought

(ii) Paul and the earthquake

(iii) Moses at the Red Sea with the east wind

(b) Supernatural - a direct violation of a natural law

(i) The resurrection of Christ

(ii) Being born again

18. In physics this concept is called "Heisenburg's Uncertainty Principle" after the German Nobel prize winner who postulated it. Modern science now views a lot of the formulae of physics as occurring the vast majority of times but on odd occasions not complying with observed laws. Such non compliance would include miracles or manipulation by God.
19. Evolution is an attack on free will as it states that man is evolved from animals and is a higher form of animal. This is often reinforced in text books which state "men and the other animals" indicating that man differs in degree only and not in "kind".

(a) "Difference in degree" - hot and cold is a matter of relative heat; ice, water and steam are all water and of the same kind.

(b) "Difference in kind - a square and a triangle.

(c) Solomon in (Ecclesiastes 3:21), a believer out of fellowship assesses man as different only in degree from animals.

(d) Based on evolutionary principles abortion can be justified and atrocities condoned against other races such as the Nazi reaction to Jews, gipsies and the Slavs. From this comes the concept that if we knew everything about animal behaviour we could then describe man.

(e) The Biblical view however is that we do vary in kind, not in degree (Genesis 2:16) with the thing that sets man apart from the animals being volition.

(f) By implication man is never totally determined by his environment.

(g) Hell is a monument to the fact of free will because if you do not have a choice you cannot be judged.

20. Three problems which the Bible solves regarding free will -

(a) What about babies who die before they hear the gospel or those who are mentally not able to decide?

Solution - (2 Samuel 12:18) where a child born to David and Bathsheba dies on the 7th day, the day before circumcision which would have brought the child into a covenant relationship.

David says that he will go to be with the child indicating the child has been automatically saved without a covenant requirement.

This is the principle of "unlimited atonement". (1 John 2:2)
(b) What about the physical damage which hinders the person causing a restriction of free will?

Solution - (John 9:1-7) where a man blind from birth is healed. Jesus did not bypass the free will but made up for the blindness. He breaks down the barriers for a person to do God's will but the free will of the person is not manipulated.

(c) What about spiritual damage to free will?

Solution - (Genesis 3:8) where after the fall God sought out Adam and Eve in the garden where they had hidden from him. God who is all knowing asked the question "Where are you?"

The principle of the "total depravity of man" is seen here in the fact that man will not of his own free will seek God.

In (Deuteronomy 5) Moses and all the Israelites heard a public address by God which the Israelites shrank back from.

God speaks to man in three areas:-

(a) He speaks to all men. (Matthew 5:45, Acts 14:17)

(b) He has a more intense form of calling. (Genesis 6:3, Romans 13:1)

(c) He calls through the gospel of Jesus Christ. (John 16:8-11)

It is however possible to so damage the free will regarding spiritual matters that it becomes impossible to believe or repent.

(a) The Amorites and Canaanites of Joshua's day. (Genesis 15:16)

(b) The Pharaoh of the Exodus. (Exodus 7- 11)

(c) Those who accept the mark of the beast. (Revelation 13:8)

(d) The reaction of unbelievers at the Second Advent. (Revelation 6:16)
21. However there are many areas over which even those who have had limited free will have control and the person who searches will find. (John 7:17)
22. If God is truly sovereign how can man have genuine free choice? God has absolute sovereignty as shown by a study of His character. It is also clear that man has free will.

God uses his free will as creator whilst man uses his as a part of creation.

23. One way of looking at this is fatalism which is the basis of most eastern religions which state that man's destiny is set and certain.
24. Another way is autonomy which says that all things are uncertain and therefore history goes on chaotically.
25. True biblical sovereignty is based on the creator/creation concept with the creator outside the universe and the created beings within.
Three non salvation examples:-
(a) Paul as a prisoner on a ship bound for Rome predicts, having received advice from the angel of God, that there will be no loss of life but the ship will become a wreck. The guarantee is a sovereign guarantee and therefore absolute. Paul however tells the soldiers that they must stay on the boat to be saved. They do and they are saved. Sovereign decrees by God therefore contain free will decisions by man. (Acts 27)
(b) The sovereign decree is that all things work together for good towards the goal of predestination and eventual glorification. We have a guarantee that we will be in heaven. We need to be actively involved in the chain of events. (Romans 8:28)
(c) Daniel understood the time of "desolations" as seventy years as prophesied by Jeremiah and knew that it would end on time. He now seeks by supplication with sackcloth and ashes forgiveness for Israel's sin on the basis that no discipline is going to be removed without the sin having been forgiven. (Daniel 9:2)

God promises certain things but they are contingent on our prayer Using the principle of the sovereignty of God we can be confident in prayer if we are controlled by the Holy Spirit. (James 4:2)

26. Can free will be neutral? The answer is no, one is either positive or negative towards God. For instance if a young man is keen on a girl and is asked if he is going to marry her and he answers he does not know. As long as he debates the question he will not marry her and is therefore negative to marriage.
27. Every attack in the Christian life has one common feature, the denial of the Word of God as shown in the temptation of our Lord. Each of them therefore is an attack on the character of God.
28. The act of negative free will to the plan of God is given in (Romans 1:18-32.)
In this passage:-

(a) The unbeliever holds the truth in unrighteousness. (v18)

(b) The power of God is clearly seen by all men. (v19-20)

(c) They became vain in their imaginations and worshipped part of the creation rather than the creator. (v21-23)

(d) The result is sexual and other perversions. (v24-31)

(e) They end up encouraging others to defy God. (v32)

29. Are the majority always right? A scriptural example of this was Elijah and the prophets of Baal in (1 Kings 18) where on a public opinion basis Elijah would have been considered wrong.

The concept that public opinion is always correct comes from the French philosopher Rousseau who stated "the most general will is always the most just also, the voice of the people is in fact the voice of God".

Another good example of this would be the public opinion that happened at the crucifixion of Christ.
30. There are therefore two classes in the Christian life, positive or negative to God's will.
31. In Old Testament times physical idols were common. The idols nowadays are commonly abstract in the form of ideas and concepts. It is up to the Christian to challenge these concepts where they occur.

1. The Holy Spirit indwells every believer. We are commanded to allow Him to fill (or fully control) our lives (Ephesians 5:18).
2. The filling (controlling) of the Spirit can be broken by:

a) Grieving the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) - sin, doing something you shouldn't.

b) Quenching the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19) - not doing something you should (like quenching a fire, allowing the flame to go out).
3. The filling (controlling) of the Spirit can be restored by confession of sin and full surrender to do the will of God (1John 1:9)
4. The Spirit produces the very character of the Christ in the believer: (Galatians 4:19, 5:22, 23, Ephesians 3:16, 17, Philippians 1:20, 21, 2 Corinthians 3:3)
a) The fruit of the Spirit:

i) Galatians 5:22-23 - Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-control.

ii) Romans 14:17 - Righteousness, Peace, Joy.

iii) Colossians 3:12-15 - Compassion, Kindness, Humility, Gentleness, Patience, Forgiveness, Love, Peace, Thankfulness.

iv) 1 Thessalonians 1:3 - Faith, Love, Endurance, Hope.
b) Rejoicing in Christ (Philippians 3:1, 4:4).

c) Loving one another (John 15:12, Romans 12:10, Ephesians 5:2).

d) Striving for the faith (Philippians 1:27, Jude 3).

e) Putting away all sin (1 Corinthians 5:7, Hebrews 12:1).

f) Abstaining from all appearances of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22).

g) Submitting to injuries (1 Corinthians 6:7).

h) Subduing the temper (Ephesians 4:26, James 1:19).

i) Shunning the wicked (2 Thessalonians 3:6).

j) Abounding in the works of the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58 1 Thessalonians 4:1).

k) Showing a good example (1 Timothy 4:12, 1 Peter 2:12).

l) Following after that which is good (Philippians 4:8, 1 Timothy 6:11).

m) Perfecting holiness (2 Corinthians 7:1, 2 Timothy 3:17).

n) Hating defilement (Jude 23).

o) Overcoming the world. (1 John 5:4-5)

p) Adorning the gospel. (Philippians 1:27, Titus 2:10)

q) Forgiving injuries. (Romans 12:20)

r) Living peaceably with all. (Romans 12:18, Hebrews 12:14)

s) Visiting the afflicted. (James 1:27)

t) Sympathising with others. (Romans 12:15, 1 Thessalonians 5:14)

u) Honouring others. (Romans 12:10)

v) Submitting to authorities. (Romans 13:1-7)

w) Being content. (Philippians 4:11, Hebrews 13:5)

x) Walking worthy of the Lord. (Colossians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 2:12)

y) Walking in the newness of life. (Romans 6:4)

z) Walking as children of light. (Ephesians 5:8)

aa) Glorifies Christ in his body. (Philippians 1:20, 21)

bb) Christ is at home in his body. (Ephesians 3:16, 17)

cc) A lifestyle which honours God in the presence of men. (2 Corinthians 3:3)

5. The filling of the Holy Spirit in every believer only occurs in two dispensations:

a) Church age Ephesians 5:18, Galatians 5:22, 23

b) Millennium - Joel 2:28, 29 (characterised by ecstatics)

1. God is pleased with believers

a) By asking for the right things. (1 Kings 3:9, 10)

b) By living a separated life. (2 Timothy 2:4)

c) By doing his will. (Hebrews 13:20, 21)

d) Walking in fellowship with him. (Hebrews 11:5, Genesis 5:24)

e) By praising God. (Psalm 69:30, 31)

f) By resting by faith in God's provision. (Hebrews 11:6)
2. The Christian life involves walking:

a) in the Truth (2 John 4)

b) by means of faith in wisdom (2 Corinthians 5:7, Colossians 4:5)

c) in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16, 25)

d) in Love (Ephesians 5:2)

e) in newness of Life (Romans 6:4)

f) worthy of our vocation (Ephesians 4:1)

g) worthy of the Lord (Colossians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 2:12)

h) honestly as in the day (Romans 13:13)

i) in good works (Ephesians 2:10)

j) in light (Ephesians 5:8, 1 John 1:7)

k) in Christ Jesus (Colossians 2:6)

l) circumspectly (Ephesians 5:15,16)

m) as ye ought (1 Thessalonians 4:1).

3. The Christian life demands honourable conduct:

a) Believers have freedom in Christ (Galatians 5:1), but our conduct must not

i) harm the weak (1 Corinthians 8:9);

ii) be hypocritical (1 Peter 2:16);

iii) does not edify (1 Corinthians 10:23);

iv) lead to habits which enslave (1 Corinthians 6:12);

v) lead to self-indulgence (Galatians 5:13);

vi) offend personal conscience (Romans 14:5).

b) Our conduct towards God:

i) Done in His Name. (1 Timothy 6:1)

ii) As unto Him. (Colossians 3:23)

iii) For His glory. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

iv) To be worthy of Him. (1 Thessalonians 2:12; 2 Thessalonians 1:5)
c) Our conduct towards others:

i) Be a good example. (Romans 14:7; 1 Timothy 4:12)

ii) Worthy of our calling. (Ephesians 4:1)

iii) Honest. (2 Corinthians 8:21)

iv) Free from the appearance of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:22)

v) Helpful to a neighbour. (Romans 12:18; 15:2)

vi) Not a cause of stumbling. (Romans 14:13)

vii) Honouring one's parents. (Colossians 3:20)

viii) Honouring to the government. (Titus 3:1)

ix) Must not entail unequal yoking. (2 Corinthians 6:14)

x) Not to judge others (Romans 14:10-13)

xi) Not to cause others to stumble by our actions (Romans 14:15, 21-23)

d) Our conduct towards self:

i) Pure and not lustful. (1 Timothy 5:22; 1 Peter 2:11)

ii) Must not defile. (1 Corinthians 3:17; Titus 1:15)

iii) Must not condemn. (Romans 14:22)

iv) Must do good works. (Titus 3:8)

e) This conduct is only obtainable under the filling of the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18; 1 John 1:9).

4. The Christian life demands diligence:

a) Love towards others. (Galatians 2:10, 2 Corinthians 8:8). We should be eager to help those who are less fortunate than ourselves especially by giving them the gospel.

b) We should be keen to take care of the saints (other believers) (Hebrews 6:11, 2 Corinthians 7:12, 2 Corinthians 8:16, 17, 2 Timothy 1:17)

c) We should be eager to rest in the promises and principles of God. Happiness comes from this. An example of not resting in the promises is the Exodus generation.(Hebrews 4:11)

d) Confirmation of our calling (2 Peter 1:5, 2 Peter 1:10) We should witness for Christ eagerly, zealously.

e) Unity of the body. (Ephesians 4:3) We should be zealous in maintaining the unity of the body.

f) For the commendation of God. (2 Timothy 2:15). Be eager to show yourself approved by God.

g) To have a life without spot or blemish. (2 Peter 3:14) We should walk close to the Lord and not expose ourselves to unnecessary areas of temptation.

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