Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Reformation Polka

 A little Reformation Day humor:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Godet on the significance of Christ's temptation to power

I shared this quotation last Sunday from F. Godet on Jesus' rejection of the devil's second temptation that he would give to him "all the kingdoms of the world" (Luke 4:5):
This refusal was a serious matter.  Jesus thereby renounced all power founded upon material means and social institutions.  He broke with the Messianic Jewish ideal under the received form.  He confined Himself, in accomplishing the conquest of the world, to spiritual action exerted upon souls; He condemned himself to gain them one by one, by the labor of conversion and sanctification—a gentle, unostentatious progress, contemptible in the eyes of the flesh, of which the end, the visible reign, was only to appear after the lapse of centuries (p. 139).


Monday, October 29, 2012

Harmonizing the Matthean and Lukan accounts of Jesus' temptation

Note:   I preached yesterday from Luke 4:1-15 on The temptation of Jesus.  In that message I offered a teaching aside on the apparent contradiction in the ordering of the temptations in Matthew and Luke.  Here is that portion from my notes:

The final three onslaughts in the devil's attack are the temptation to turn stones into bread (vv. 3-4); the temptation to gain “the kingdoms of the world” (vv. 5-8); and the temptation to cast himself from the pinnacle of the temple (vv. 9-12).  These have been described as the physical temptation; the political temptation; and the religious temptation.  We might think of them as three storm waves crashing upon Jesus, attempting to tear him down.
As an aside, we might note, again, that the first three Gospels all agree in stating that Jesus was tempted after his baptism.  Mark’s account is very brief (Mark 1:12-13) and does not specifically describe the final three temptations.  Matthew’s account (Matthew 4:1-11) is like Luke’s in that it also describes these final three temptations.  You may know that Matthew and Luke do not agree in the order in which they describe the temptations (Matthew’s is bread, pinnacle of the temple, kingdoms of the world).  Is this a contraction?  No.  Both agree precisely in the three temptations.
As for the order, consider this:  I might tell one person in a conversation before church that last Friday I tutored my children in Latin, I played tennis, and I did some work in my garden.  Over lunch, I might tell another person I tutored my children in Latin, I worked in the garden, and I played tennis.  The fact that my ordering of these events differed in the two tellings does not alter the fact that it is absolutely true that I did all three of those things last Friday.  I think there is good reason to believe that Luke’s account captures the chronological order.  But the main point here is that “apparent” contradictions in Scripture evaporate when given enough time, reasoning, and information.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Evangelism Series (Part Three): Euangelizo Continued

Note:  This is part three of an ongoing series on Biblical evangelism.  This post continues the previous entry offering a survey of the verb euangelizo, "to evangelize" or "to preach the gospel" in Paul, the General Epistles, and Revelation.    
A closer look at euangelizo in Paul

Survey of uses:

1.      In Romans 1:15 Paul says he is ready “to preach the gospel” to those in Rome.


2.      In Romans 10:15, after asking, “And how shall they preach [kerusso] unless they be sent?” Paul states, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel [euangelizo] of peace, and bring glad tidings [euangelizo] of good things!”  Note:  The citation above reflects the traditional text.  The modern critical text reads, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news [euangelizo]” (NIV).


3.     In Romans 15:20 Paul says he “strived to preach the gospel not where Christ was named.”


4.     In 1 Corinthians 1:17 Paul says that Christ sent him not to baptize but “to preach the gospel.”


5.     In 1 Corinthians 9:16, Paul states that he has no ground of boasting if “I preach the gospel,” adding, “woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel.”


6.     In 1 Corinthians 9:18, Paul declares, “I preach the gospel” without charge.


7.     In 1 Corinthians 15:1, Paul says, “I declare [gnorizo] unto you the gospel [euangelion] which I preached [euangelizo] unto you.”


8.     In 1 Corinthians 15:2, Paul speaks of “the gospel which I preached unto you.”


9.     In 2 Corinthians 10:16, Paul tells the Corinthians of his desire “to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you.”


10.                          In 2 Corinthians 11:7, Paul says, “I have preached to you the gospel [euangelion] of God freely.”


11.                          In Galatians 1:8, Paul says, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel [euangelizo] unto you than that which we have preached [euangelizo] unto you, let him be accursed.


12.                          In Galatians 1:9 Paul reiterates an anathema on any who “preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received.”


13.                          In Galatians 1:11, Paul states, “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel [euangelion] which was preached [euangelizo] of me is not after man.”


14.                          In Galatians 1:16, Paul describes how the Son was revealed in him “that I might preach him among the heathen.”


15.                          In Galatians 1:23, Paul reports the reaction of those who discovered that the one who once persecuted believers “now preacheth the faith.”


16.                          In Galatians 4:13 Paul notes that “though infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you.”


17.                          In Ephesians 2:17, Paul describes how Jesus came and “preached peace to you.”


18.                         In Ephesians 3:8 Paul states, “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace [charis] given, that I should preach [euangelizo] among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;”


19.                          In 1 Thessalonians 3:6, Paul reports to the Thessalonians that Timothy had “brought us good tidings [euangelizo] of you faith and charity.”


Most of Paul’s references to euangelizo are connected to his own particular apostolic ministry of public “preaching the gospel.”  It is associated with preaching [kerusso] (Rom 10:15).  In only one instance does it have the sense of simply conveying information, rather than preaching (1 Thess 3:6).  In no place does Paul refer to individual gospel preaching (as Philip did in Acts 8:35).

Paul makes reference to Jesus preaching the gospel to the Ephesians, but this was apparently through the means of other men (Eph 3:8).  He also makes hypothetical reference to an angel preaching a false gospel to the Galatians (1:8).

The object of gospel preaching is variously described as “the gospel” itself (1 Cor 15:1; Gal 1:11), “the gospel of God” (2 Cor 11:7), “him” (Jesus) (Gal 1:16); “the faith” (Gal 1:23), “peace” (Eph 2:17), and “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph 3:8).

Again, Paul specifically refers to “preaching the gospel” in reference to his own ministry.   His desire is to preach the gospel where Christ is unknown (Rom 15:20).  He preaches “among the heathen” (Gal 1:16).  He is under compulsion to preach the gospel (1 Cor 9:16) and he preaches it “freely” (2 Cor 11:7; Gal 1:16).  Most significant is Paul’s description of his calling in Ephesians 3:8 where he notes that though he is “least of all saints” he has been given the “grace” of preaching the gospel.  For Paul the preaching of the gospel is a unique and special calling that he has received as an apostle.

A closer look at euangelizo in the General Epistles

Survey of uses:


1.      In Hebrews 4:2, the author declares, “For unto us the gospel was preached.”


2.      In Hebrews 4:6, the author states that “they to whom it was first preached entered not in due to unbelief.”

3.     In 1 Peter 1:12, Peter makes reference of “them that have preached the gospel unto you.”

4.     In 1 Peter 1:25, Peter states, “And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”

5.     In 1 Peter 4:6 Peter make enigmatic reference to the gospel preached “to them that are dead.”


The references to “preaching the gospel” in the general epistles are minimal.  The few references are to those who have had the gospel preached to them, whether the recipients of the epistles (Heb 4:2; 1 Peter 1;25), unbelievers (Heb 4:6), or “the dead” (1 Peter 4:6).

A closer look at euangelizo in Revelation

Survey of uses:

1.      In Revelation 10:7, John says that God “hath declared [euangelizo] to his servants the prophets.”

2.      In Revelation 14:6, John reports that an angel flies, “in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel [euangelion] to preach [euangelizo] unto them that dwell on the earth.”



The usages of euangelizo in the Apocalypse are minimal.  On the other hand, there are no usages at all in the Fourth Gospel or in the Johannine epistles.  In one usage the sense is more communication of information rather than gospel preaching (Rev 10:7).  The subject is God (Rev 10:7) or an angel (Rev 14:6), but no men are described as preaching the gospel.


Overall reflections on euangelizo in the NT

Euangelizo most often refers to the public proclamation of the good news of the gospel.  It is often explicitly associated with preaching (kerusso) and teaching (diadakto).  Jesus is the primary preacher of the gospel.  He then sends the original apostles to be gospel preachers.  In Acts, persecution dictates that others be sanctioned to become gospel preachers, including members of the Jerusalem seven and the Antioch seven.  Paul sees his distinct apostolic mission as preaching the gospel.  In no place is gospel preaching explicitly described as a general duty or responsibility of all believers.  On the contrary, Paul can speak of it as a distinct “grace” that has been given to him (Eph 3:8).     

Friday, October 26, 2012

MacArthur Book Review Redivivus

The book review I did for the Reformed Baptist Trumpet on Iain Murray's biography John MacArthur:  Servant of the Word and Flock (Banner of Truth, 2011)  and which also appeared in the July 2012 issue of the Puritan Reformed Journal has now been posted on the Banner of Truth website.  You can read the review here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Vision (10/25/12): Why does Luke record the genealogy of Jesus?

Image:  We made use of our new pulpit and communion table last Lord's Day at CRBC.
Which was the son of Enosh, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God (Luke 3:38).

Note:  Here are some of my notes from the closing reflections in last Sunday’s sermon on The Roots of the Messiah (Luke 3:23-38).  I look forward to continuing our journey through Luke’s Gospel this coming Sunday.

Why does Luke, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, record the genealogy of Jesus (Luke 3:23-38)?  There are at least two important spiritual points that are being made:  (1) the universal scope of God’s mission; and (2) the sovereign plan of God.

The universal scope of God’s mission

Again, nothing in Scripture is accidental or coincidental.  I think there is significance first in where Luke traces the line of Jesus.  He goes back to Adam (Luke 3:38).  Matthew traces his roots back to Father Abraham (Matthew 1:1).  But Luke goes all the way back to the  Garden.

One of the key things this does is bring emphasis to the universal scope of the gospel.  It is not universalism (all men will be saved), but it does have a universal scope (all sorts of men will be saved).  In Athens, Paul will preach to the pagans and say that the God of the Bible “hath made of one blood all nations of men” adding “That they should seek the Lord” (Acts 17:26-27).  In tracing the line of Jesus back to Adam (and then, even to God himself), Luke is reminding us that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek., bond nor free, male nor female (see Galatians 3:28).  What does the angel tell the shepherds on the night of Christ’s birth?  “Fear not:  for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10).  There is a wideness in God’s mercy that is evident at the very beginning of Jesus’ life and ministry!

The Sovereign Plan of God

We are called also in this text to wonder at the wisdom of the sovereign plan of God and his power to carry it out.  In generation after generation, God was at work, setting up the intricate set of connections that would lead to the arrival of his Messiah.  It could have been broken at any one of the 70 plus points along the way, but God did not let that happen.  His plans cannot be shaken and his purposes cannot be thwarted.  If that was true of the sending of his Son as Redeemer it will also be true of the sending of his Son as Judge.  It is also true of all the promises he makes to his disciples.  When we do not understand with certainty all that happens around us, we can still trust the Architect of history to do all things well.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Evangelism Series (Part Two): Euangelizo

Note:  This is Part Two of an ongoing series of blog posts on the topic of Biblical evangelism. 
The use of the verb euangelizo in the NT

In order to understand the Biblical view of evangelism, it will be useful to examine some of the foundational language of the NT which describes how Jesus and the early believers practiced evangelism. One key verb is euangelizo, which has in its root the noun euangelion, “gospel.”  In fact, the word might be best rendered simply as “to evangelize” or “to proclaim the gospel.”  In the KJV tradition it is typically translated as “preaching the gospel” or sometimes simply as “preaching.”

General Overview:

This verb appears across the various parts of the NT canon.  According to The Exhaustive Concordance to the Greek New Testament (based on the modern critical text), the verb appears 54 times in the NT among the following books:

Gospels:                               11 x

                                                            Matthew:     1x

                                                            Luke:              10x

Acts:                                      15x

Pauline epistles:               19x

                                                            Romans:        3x

                                                            1 Cor:             5x

                                                            2 Cor:             2x

                                                            Gal:                 6x

                                                            Eph:                2x

                                                            1 Thess:         1x

General Epistles:               5x

                                                            Heb:               2x

                                                            1 Pet:             3x

Revelation:                         2x

A closer look at euangelizo in the Gospels:

Survey of uses:

1.      In Matthew 11:5 in answering those sent from John, Jesus announces that “the poor have the gospel preached to them.”


2.      In Luke 1:19 the angel Gabriel announces to Mary that he has been sent “to show thee these glad tidings.”


3.      Luke 2:10 the angel of the Lord tells the shepherds, “I bring you good tidings of great joy.”


4.      In Luke 3:18 it is said of John that “preached he unto the people.”


5.      In Luke 4:18 Jesus announces that he has been anointed “to preach the gospel to the poor.”


6.      In Luke 4:43 Jesus says, “I must preach the gospel to other cities also.”


7.      In Luke 7:22 (and in Matt 11:5) Jesus tells those sent from John, “to the poor the gospel is preached.”



8.      In Luke 8:1, we read that Jesus went “preaching and shewing [kerusson kai euangelizomenos] the glad tidings of the kingdom of God.”


9.      In Luke 9:6, the twelve disciples go out “preaching the gospel.”


10.    In Luke 16:16, Jesus says, “the kingdom of God is preached.”


11.  And in Luke 20:1, we read that Jesus “taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel.”


Among the Gospels, the verb euangelizo is found primarily in the Gospel of Luke.  It has the sense of bringing good tidings when used to describe the work of Gabriel (Luke 1:19) and the angelic host (Luke 2:10).  John in his forerunner ministry is also a preacher of the gospel (Luke 3:18).  Elsewhere, it refers specifically to the proclamation of the Christian gospel.  Jesus is a preacher of the gospel.  He preaches to the poor (Matt 11:5; Luke 4:18).  His “preaching the gospel” (euangelizo) is linked with preaching (kerusso, Luke 8:1) and teaching (didasko, Luke 20:1).  The object of Christ’s preaching is “the kingdom of God” (Luke 8:1; 16:16).  Other than Jesus himself and John, the only other persons described as “preaching the gospel” are the twelve disciples (Luke 9:6).

A closer look at euangelizo in Acts:

Survey of uses:

1.      After the apostles were called before the Jewish council and were beaten and warned “that they should not speak [laleo] in the name of Jesus” (5:40), Luke says, “they ceased not to teach [didasko] and preach [euangelizo] Jesus Christ” (5:42).


2.      After “the church which was at Jerusalem” was “scattered abroad” “except the apostles” (8:1), Luke adds that those scattered, “went everywhere preaching the word” (8:4).


3.     In Acts 8:12 Philip, one of those scattered from Jerusalem, is described as “preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ.”


4.     In Acts 8:25, the apostles Peter and John, having been sent from Jerusalem  to Samaria, are said to have “testified [diamartyro] and preached [laleo] the word of the Lord,” and thus to have “preached the gospel [euangelizo].”


5.     In Acts 8:35, it is said that Philip “preached” Jesus to the Ethiopian Eunuch.


6.     In Acts 8:40, it is said that Philip “preached in all the cities.”


7.     In Acts 10:36, Peter says that the “word” sent by God was “preaching peace by Jesus Christ.”


8.     In Acts 11:20, it says that some of those scattered from the Jerusalem persecution “men of Cyprus and Cyrene” in Antioch “spake [laleo] unto the Grecians, preaching [euangelizo] the Lord Jesus.”


9.     In Acts 13:32, Paul in Pisidian Antioch says, “we declare unto you glad tidings.”


10.     In Acts 14:7, Luke records when Paul and Barnabas entered Lystra and Derbe:  “And there they preached the gospel.”


11.    In Acts 14:15, Paul and Barbabas tell the inhabitants of Lystra that they are “men of like passions with you” who have come to “preach” to them.


12.    In Acts 14:21, Luke says that Paul and Barnabas “preached the gospel” to the city of Derbe.


13.    In Acts 15:35, it says that Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch “teaching [didasko]and preaching [euangelizo] the word of the Lord, with many others also.”


14.   In Acts 16:10 [one of the “we” passages of Acts] Luke says that after Paul’s vision of the Macedonian man, concluding “that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel unto them.”


15.   In Acts 17:10, while in Athens, Paul “preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.”


Acts is also written by the author of Luke, so we should not be surprised to find frequent use of the verb euangelizo here as in the Third Gospel (25 of the 54 NT uses of the verb are in the Lukan writings).  In Acts, the verb euangelizo is linked with speaking (laleo), bearing witness (diamartyro), and teaching (didasko) (see Acts 5:42; 8:25; 11:19-20).  Though it usually is done corporately and publicly, it can also be done individually, as when Philip “preaches the gospel” to the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:35).  The object of the verb (and thus the object of the gospel proclamation) varies, including, “Jesus Christ” (5:42); “peace” (10:36); “the Lord Jesus” (11:20); “the word of the Lord” (15:35); and “Jesus, and the resurrection” (17:10).

Who preaches the gospel in Acts?  In first place are the twelve apostles (5:42), including specifically Peter and John (8:25).  Philip is a preacher of the gospel (8:12, 35, 40), so are Paul and Barnabas (13:32; 14:7, 15, 21; 15:35; 16:10; 17:18) who have been set apart and sent out by the church at Antioch (13:1-3).  The gospel is also preached by the word of God itself (10:36).  Even Luke himself is an implied gospel preacher (16:10).

In addition, there are some intriguing references to unnamed persons who preach the gospel in Acts.  This includes those scattered by the persecution of the Jerusalem church while the apostles remained in Jerusalem (in Samaria:  8:1, 4; in Antioch:  11:20).  The only one of these scattered preachers mentioned by name is Philip.  Are we to assume that the other scattered preachers might also have been, like Philip, from among the seven men set apart to minister to the widows in the Jerusalem church (see 6:5; note that one of these, Nicholas, is specifically identified as “a proselyte of Antioch”)?  Though the Jerusalem seven are often assumed to be “deacons,” they are not given this specific title in Acts.  Philip, on the contrary, is described as “the evangelist” and not “the deacon” in Acts 21:8.

Perhaps the most intriguing reference to these anonymous preachers of the gospel is that found in Acts 15:35 which notes the teaching and preaching of Paul and Barnabas in Antioch but adds that they did so “with many others also.” Some might jump to egalitarian conclusions here, assuming general freedom for preaching and teaching by non-officers, but the context of Acts reveals that these other teachers and preaches in Antioch may well be the seven prophets and teachers of Antioch listed in Acts 13:1 (much like the Jerusalem seven in Acts 6:5).

We can conclude that according to Acts the task of preaching the gospel (i.e., doing Biblical evangelism) was initially entrusted to the apostles and their apostolic associates.  It primarily involves verbal public proclamation but could also involve private verbal instruction (again, see Acts 8:35).

Next time we will continue to trace the use of the verb euangelizo in Paul, the General Epistles, and Revelation.