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I know of few "ordinary men" who have the wit to manage their lives efficiently, much less solve complex moral problems in a level-headed manner. History shows that we can't do this sort of thing well. In his old age, Solomon turned to idolatry as a result of the influence of his wives 1 Kings Isn't it strange to believe that the wisest man on earth could not turn any of his wives from idolatry to worship of the one true god, Yahweh Elohim of Israel?
Isn't it strange that a man who, on at least two occasions 1 Kings ; , was personally visited by Yahweh would turn to idolatry? Well, there's nothing strange about any of this at all -- it's just proof that we need grace, not power, or wisdom, or riches, more than anything else. It's no stranger than the fact that schools blessed with all the money and technology they need don't do any better on that basis alone. But that's a lesson the Skeptical humanists with unlimited confidence in mankind don't want to hear, now isn't it?
Latest News Ministry Manifesto What we do! Featured Resource Defining Inerrancy. If Solomon was so wise, it is asked, why did he do so many dumb things? Then the king said, The one says, This is my son that lives, and your son is dead: and the other says, No; but your son is dead, and my son is the living. And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king. At numerous points in 1 Corinthians Paul reminds his readers that the Corinthian church is not the only church—or, better put, that there are many other churches with common beliefs and practices, such that at some point the independence of the Corinthians, far from being a virtue, is merely evidence that they are out of step.
There is no explicit formula of this sort in 1 Corinthians Nevertheless, Paul repeatedly alludes to what he preaches everywhere, not just in Corinth. One must test everything by Scripture. Moreover, one must grimly admit that there is a kind of traditionalism that loses its way, that preserves form while sacrificing authenticity and power. In Corinth, however, that does not seem to have been the problem. Corinth speaks to the lust for endless innovation that casually cuts a swath away from the practices and beliefs of other churches, while quietly side-stepping the careful instruction of the apostle.
Paul insists that the gospel is rightly asserted to be the central confession of the whole church. Always be suspicious of churches that proudly flaunt how different they are from what has gone before. That is amply taught elsewhere in the New Testament, of course. That presupposes the reign is still contested, and still advances. God will be all in all Let nothing move you. The gospel is boldly advancing under the contested reign and inevitable victory of Jesus the king. It is time to take stock. One of the striking results of this summary of the gospel—eight defining words and five clarifying sentences, all emerging from one New Testament chapter—is how cognitive the gospel is.
Here is what is to be understood, believed, obeyed; here is what is promised, taught, explained. All of this must be said, loudly and repeatedly, in a generation that feels slightly embarrassed when it has to deal with the cognitive and the propositional. Yet something else must also be said. This chapter comes at the end of a book that repeatedly shows how the gospel rightly works out in the massive transformation of attitudes, morals, relationships, and cultural interactions.
As everyone knows, Calvin insists that justification is by faith alone, but genuine faith is never alone; we might add that the gospel focuses on a message of what God has done and is doing, and must be cast in cognitive truths to be believed and obeyed, but this gospel never properly remains exclusively cognitive. What the apostle works out is how this is a betrayal of the gospel, a misunderstanding of the nature of Christian leadership, a tragic and bitter diminution of the exclusive place of Christ, the crucified Christ who is the focus of the gospel.
In chap. Chapters wrestle with how believers must interact with the broader pagan culture over the matter of food offered to idols, with the central example of the apostle Paul himself demonstrating in dramatic fashion what cheerful and voluntary self-restraint for the sake of the advance of the gospel actually looks like—and even how such a stance is tied to a proper understanding of the relationship between the new covenant and the old. Love is the most important member of the Pauline triad of faith, hope, and love—this triplet of virtues that are deeply intrinsic to the working out of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
A Christianity where believers are not patient and kind, a Christianity where believers characteristically envy, are proud and boastful, rude, easily angered, and keep a record of wrongs, is no Christianity at all.
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What does this say, in concrete terms, about the communion of saints, the urgent need to create a Christian community that is profoundly counter-cultural? What will this say about inter-generational relationships? About race? About how we treat one another in the local church? Just as Paul found it necessary to hammer away at the outworking of the gospel in every domain of the lives of the Corinthians, so we must do the same today.
Recently at Trinity, a very wise worker on an Ivy League campus told us what, in her experience, drives most of the young women whom she disciples every week. She mentioned three things. First , from parents, never get less than an A. Of course, this is an Ivy League campus!
Still, even on an Ivy League campus, grades are distributed on a bell curve, so this expectation introduces competition among the students. Second , partly from parents, partly from the ambient culture, be yourself, enjoy yourself, live a rich and full life, and include in this some altruism such as helping victims of Katrina.
Third , from peers, from Madison avenue, from the media, be hot—and this, too, is competitive, and affects dress, relationships, what you look for in the opposite sex, what you want them to look for in you. These demands drum away incessantly. There is no margin, no room for letting up; there is only room for failure. The world keeps telling them that they can do anything, and soon this is transmuted into the demand that they must do everything, or be a failure both in their own eyes and in the eyes of others. Even when they become Christians, it is not long before they feel the pressure to become the best Christians, as measured by attendance at Bible studies, leading prayer meetings, faithfully recording their daily devotions.
The conventions and expectations of the world are pervasive and enslaving. The gospel must be worked out for these women, and demonstrated in the life of the church, so that it issues in liberation from the wretched chains of idolatry too subtle to be named and too intoxicating to escape, apart from the powerful word of the cross.
Of course, I have picked on one small demographic. It does not take much to think through how the gospel must also transform the business practices and priorities of Christians in commerce, the priorities of young men steeped in indecisive but relentless narcissism, the lonely anguish and often the guilty pleasures of single folk who pursue pleasure but who cannot find happiness, the tired despair of those living on the margins, and much more.
And this must be done, not by attempting to abstract social principles from the gospel, still less by endless focus on the periphery in a vain effort to sound prophetic, but precisely by preaching and teaching and living out in our churches the glorious gospel of our blessed Redeemer. Skip to main content. Search the Directory of Theology. Eight Summarizing Words on the Gospel. Carson The Gospel of Jesus Christ 1 Corinthians Many have commented on the fact that the church in the western world is going through a time of remarkable fragmentation. Here four things must be said.
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The Post-Exilic Prophets: Obadiah, Joel, Haggai, And Malachi
Tom Chantry. Bryan Chapell. Stephen Charnock. John Cheeseman. Gordon H Clark. R Scott Clark. Edmund P Clowney. John Colquhoun. John Currid. They have believed that You sent Me : One might say that in these few verses, Jesus looked at salvation from two points of view. Each perspective is true from its point of view. Jhn Jesus directs His prayer. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. I pray for them.
I do not pray for the world : Jesus specifically had His disciples in mind in this prayer. He did not pray in a general sense for the world; instead, Jesus prayed for the disciples who would carry His message of love and redemption to the world. When Jesus said, I do not pray for the world it was not because He did not care for a lost and fallen world; it was to focus on His own disciples.
Jhn ; Jesus here imitates the high priest, the second part of whose prayer, on the day of expiation, was for the priests , the sons of Aaron. But for those whom You have given Me : One might say that this has in mind more than simply the eleven disciples, but also those who would believe on their testimony as is specifically mentioned in John Jesus had special focus upon them in prayer because He knew those disciples belonged to the Father for they are Yours.
To the eyes of Jesus we are radiant with beauty because God hath loved us. Here He spoke of their shared role in the life of the redeemed, that believers belong to both God the Father and God the Son. Everything we have belongs to God, but not everything He has belongs to us. I am glorified in them : In a sense, this is what it means to be a believer, to be born again, to be a true follower of Jesus Christ — to have Him glorified in us. Jesus does not merely want to dwell in or live in the believer, but to be glorified in them. In them the Son of God, none less, was actually glorified.
No one other than Jesus should be glorified in the believer. Leaders have a tendency to glorify themselves in their followers, but it should only be Jesus. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world : Jesus prayed this entire prayer with His soon departure in mind.
He realized that He would no longer remain in the world , but His disciples would. They therefore needed special prayer. This was His recognition that His work on earth was almost done, and He was on His way to heaven. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me : The disciples needed the prayer of Jesus and the power of God the Father to keep them. They must be kept, continuing as disciples of Jesus.
This was not obvious; in the Jewish world of that day no one continued as a disciple to a dead rabbi. Yet these disciples were to continue, to be kept as disciples to Jesus. You have been regenerated; but you must be kept. You are pure in heart and hands; but you must be kept. We need Jesus our intercessor Romans , Hebrews to pray for us, asking God the Father to keep us.
Our continuing on in Jesus is not left to our own efforts alone. The world, the flesh, and the devil are so mighty, so pervasive, and so seductive that we could never keep ourselves in our own efforts. There is some debate mainly from Westcott and Hort if the idea in John is keep through Your name those whom You have given Me or keep through Your name which You have given Me.
That they may be one as We are : The keeping work of God the Father in the disciples would not only keep them in Him, but it would also keep them together. Jesus prayed that they would be one , and one after the pattern of the unity of God the Father and God the Son that they may be one as We are. It is a unity of nature because it is comparable to that of the Son and the Father.
Their continued unity could not be assumed; it would make more sense for the disciples to scatter after the death of Jesus than it would for them to stay together. The unity Jesus prayed for among His people has a pattern. Even as the Father and the Son are one yet are not the same, we do not expect that genuine Christian unity will mean uniformity or unity of structure. It will mean unity of spirit, unity of heart, unity of purpose, and unity of destiny. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name : Jesus thought back over His three years of service with and unto the apostolic band.
During that time He protected and guided them; He kept them. That keeping work Jesus did in the name of His Father, with His authority and power and according to His will. Jesus did not keep His own disciples in and through His own name, but in total reliance upon God the Father. It is far more foolish for us to think we can keep ourselves or others in our own name, but our own effort or authority or will.
This was because in fulfillment of the Scriptures; Judas was the son of perdition , the one destined to evil and destruction. None perished but the one who should perish ; whose very state and attribute it was to perish. That the Scripture might be fulfilled : The Scriptures fulfilled by the betrayal of Judas were especially Psalm and Psalm , especially noted in Acts The treachery and treason of Ahithophel against King David was a prophesy of the treachery and treason of Judas against the Son of David.
Jhn Jesus elaborates on the first request: keep them in My joy and away from the evil one. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
But now I come to You : Jesus again used this phrase, first noted in John He prayed this prayer in full recognition of the soon accomplishment of His earthly work. That they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves : Jesus prayed not only for the keeping of and the unity of His disciples, as if He only longed to leave behind good employees. He deeply cared for and prayed for joy fulfilled in their life. Specifically, Jesus prayed for His own joy to be fulfilled in His life. Jesus had a life filled with joy; He could speak of My joy. If He did not, this part of the prayer would make no sense.
Truly Jesus was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief Isaiah Nevertheless there was a joy and a satisfaction in the life experience of Jesus that surpassed the joy of any other who ever lived. If Jesus was so concerned for joy among His disciples that He prayed for it, we can know that He is also concerned that we have joy.
The world, the flesh, and the devil would tell us something different, but God wants joy fulfilled in our lives. I have given them Your word : Jesus faithfully delivered the word from God the Father unto His own disciples. Even Jesus saw Himself as a messenger. You never hear from him any boast about being the originator of profound thoughts.
I do not pray that You should take them out of the world : This prayer of Jesus cautions us against seeking refuge in Christian isolation; in modern day monasteries. Our goal is to be in the world but not of it or of the evil one; even as a ship is to be in the ocean, but not allowing the ocean to be in the ship. Job and Moses and Elijah and Jonah all prayed that they would be taken out of the world, but God did not answer.
He also wants us to stay in the world, to complete the work He gives us to do. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one : Jesus definitely wanted us to be in the world, but He did not want us to be evil, or marked by the evil one. Jesus prayed for His own to be kept from the evil one , the world he rules, and of all of his evil schemes and strategies.
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Jhn ; and the disciples are going to need protection against such malice. All need to be kept. If we think of the young man, we appreciate how he must be kept from sin. The young have their own evil to battle against. Passions are strong, lusts seem to burn hot, and the pressure to conform to the world seems so much greater. Yet there is great danger for the older man. There is no description in the Scriptures of a young man falling into sin; think of Joseph and Daniel, and how they resisted sin. The examples of sin are from the lives of middle-aged men, like David and Solomon and Lot and many others.
Did you ever try to pull a bucket up a well? You know that, when it is full of water, you can pull it easily so long as the bucket remains in the water; but when it gets above the water, you know how heavy it is.
It is just so with you. While you are in sin, you do not feel it to be a burden, it does not seem to be evil; but if the Lord once draws you out of sin, you will find it to be an intolerable, a heinous evil. May the Lord, this night, wind some of you up! Though you are very deep down, may he draw you up out of sin, and give you acceptance in the Beloved! They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world : Because Jesus could see His disciples as in Him , He could see them as not of the world , even as Jesus was not of the world.
His call to His disciples was for them to be what they really were in Him. They can be crazy, they can be violent, they can be weird, or it can be many things. But there was a particular way that Jesus was not of the world. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. He prayed for their sanctification. This process, as the keeping process, is not left to us alone; it is a work of God in us and through us.
Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth : The dynamic behind sanctification is truth. The word of God read, heard, understood and applied. The operation of truth upon the mind is to separate a man from the world unto the service of God. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world : The thought of service is sandwiched by sanctification. Still, there is a likeness though it be only that of a drop to the sea. Think of how Jesus came, and connect it to the way that He sends us into the world :. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself : One should not think that Jesus was unsanctified up to this point.
Yet now He was about to enter a new aspect of being set aside for God the Father and His purpose: to complete the work of the cross. It was through that finished work that the word of God and work of God would become fully effective in the lives of the disciples that they also may be sanctified by the truth. Here is a Johannine counterpart to the Gethsemane prayer.
Jhn Jesus broadens the scope of His prayer. I do not pray for these alone : Jesus prayed for His eleven disciples, but He also had the heart and the vision to pray beyond them. He prayed for those who would come to faith by the testimony of these disciples. He prayed for us. He prays for us. He knew His intercession for them would prevail. He knows His intercession for us will prevail. Then let us rest in Him, with the rest of loving obedience and of surest confidence.
Eight Summarizing Words on the Gospel
Others would hear from them, and many would come to belief in Jesus through the testimony of the disciples. The entire tone of the farewell discourse is built on the assumption that after the resurrection they would renew their faith and carry on a new ministry is the power of the Holy Spirit. Jhn Jesus prays for unity among all believers, even as among the original disciples. That they all may be one : Jesus envisioned the great multitude before the throne of God of every nation, race, language, class, and social level Revelation Jesus prayed that they might rise above their different backgrounds and understand their unity; that they may all be as one.
Yet they are all Galileans, from this time and place. There will be countless others who also become disciples, and they will come from every nation, every language, every culture, every class, every status, from every age through the rest of history. Father, make them one. To promote the unity of the church, by creating new divisions, is not wise.
Cultivate at once the love of the truth and the love of the brethren. Sin is the great dividing element. The perfectly holy would be perfectly united. The more saintly men are, the more they love their Lord and one another; and thus they come into closer union with each other. That they all may be one, as You, Father are in Me, and I in You : Earlier in this prayer Jesus prayed specifically that the eleven disciples present at His prayer remain unified that they may be one as We are , John Here Jesus broadened the sense of that prayer to all believers, that they all may be one.
As in the previous prayer for the eleven, Jesus prayed that their unity would follow the pattern of the unity of the Godhead, specifically in the relationship between God the Father and God the Son. The repetition and extension of this prayer to all future believers is important. It shows that unity among the broader body of Jesus Christ was and is very important to Jesus. As You, Father, are in Me, and I in You also speaks to the truth that the foundation of our unity is the same as the foundation of unity between the Father and the Son: equality of person.