Tag Archives: Jesus

What Jesus Said To The Woman At The Well — Roy Knight

The first twenty-six verses of the fourth chapter of the gospel of John provide for us an interesting discussion between two unlikely people. Let’s briefly take a look at this powerful and life-changing discourse. Let us look at the words of our Lord which not only changed the life of a Samaritan woman but the lives of everyone in her city. What kind of words did Jesus speak to her?

Shocking words (John 4:7-9).  Jesus opened the discussion with just four words, “Give me a drink” (v. 7). To us they would have been common and unassuming but for this time it was unheard of. We see the reaction in the voice of the woman when she asks, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” Yet as shocking as these four simple words were they were enough to break the ice between our Lord and this precious soul and start a conversation that would save the souls of many more.

Confident words (John 4:10-12).  Jesus reveals to this spiritually famished woman that He was in possession of a gift and that gift was living water. It was she who had access to the water of the well, but Jesus had access to the living water from God. It was this water that could be had free for the taking.

Sustaining words (John 4:13-15).  Jesus reveals the obvious fact that “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again…” After all, this had been the Samaritan woman’s routine for years to draw water and return day after day. Jesus compares this water, though not insignificant, with water that could thoroughly and completely quench a person’s thirst. He wasn’t talking about physical water, but a water that could “become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” This was a fountain of water that would never go dry. The water that she carried in her pot could sustain her body for a little while but it would not keep her from dying physically or spiritually. The water Jesus hoped to bless her with could sustain her in this life and in the life to come.

Revealing words (John 4:16-18).  Jesus not only opened up her curiosity but opened up the secrets of her life. How those words must have stung when Jesus, a complete stranger, revealed to her the secrets she had hoped to keep hidden. She had had five husbands and was living with a sixth man. What shame and embarrassment she must have felt inside. The revealing of the secrets of the heart was not meant to shame her but to help her see the insight He had into her soul and her needs for something else, something better.

Prophetic words (John 4:19-24).  Perceiving that Jesus was a prophet, the woman inquired about the proper place of worship, whether upon this mountain or in Jerusalem. Jesus prophesied of a time in which the proper place of worship would not matter but that true worshippers would worship God in truth and spirit anywhere. Jews for centuries had made their pilgrimage back to Jerusalem to the temple for their sacred days. Jesus informed her that it was not the place that would matter but the heart that would matter. Any place would be acceptable to God if one’s heart (spirit) and one’s worship (truth) was right.

Hopeful words (John 4:25-26).  Progressing from the place of worship to the One who would be worshipped, the Samaritan woman expressed two articles of her faith: 1) I know the Messiah is coming and 2) He will tell us all things. As off as she may have been on everything else, these two aspect of her faith were true. The Messiah would come and he would tell them all they needed to know to be acceptable to God. He would come to fill their cup to overflowing. Jesus replied matter-of-factly, “I who speak to you am He.”

One can only imagine the joy and hope that raced through her mind as she left her water pot behind and ran into the city. Convinced at the possibility that this could be the Christ, she began to tell others of His insights into her life and then concluded with the question, “Could this be the Christ?” Their curiosity set in motion their exodus from the city towards the well where sat the Savior hungering to do His Father’s will. Gathering around Him were throngs of people who were thirsty for the living water that only Jesus could provide. Hours passed as Jesus filled their spiritual cup.

At the close of the day, their thirst being quenched, they could look at the woman and say with confidence, “We know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world” (John 4:42). Jesus not only changed the life of the Samaritan woman that day, He changed the lives of all who came out to hear Him. If Jesus can change their lives, then He can certainly change yours if you are ready and willing to drink of His living water.

    knightroy056@gmail.com

 

Roy preaches for the St. George Church of Christ in St. George, SC.

What Jesus Said On The Cross — Steve Miller

And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left” (Lk. 23:33).  Luke records the beginning of the end in the life of Jesus upon the earth and documents the first two sayings of Christ from the cross.

The first three sayings focus on others, while the last four relate to Jesus himself and the Father. The depth and meaning of the last words of Jesus warrant our whole attention.

Rick Bauer wrote:

Last words are powerful words. Perhaps you’ve watched a loved one die, and heard his last words. Words of love, words of farewell, too often words of regret and remorse, all these describe the last words of parting before death. Jesus’ dying words are the most powerful words of parting ever spoken, and reveal his life, his concerns, and the true nature of his character in a way they are shown nowhere else in the scriptures. In these words, we truly find the meaning of the cross. Let us study with reverence the parting words of our Master … the message of the cross, the message of Jesus from Golgotha. We see Jesus for all that he is when we come to the cross, when we stand around it, when we listen to The Sermon on the Hill (Rick Bauer, The Anatomy of Calvary (Joplin: College Press, 1989), 121.

James Stalker likewise opined:

These are like windows through which we can see what was passing in His mind. They are mere fragments, of course; yet they are charged with eternal significance. Words are always photographs, more or less true, of the mind which utters them; these were the truest words ever uttered, and He who uttered them stamped on them the image of Him-self (James Stalker, The Trial and Death of Jesus Christ (New York: A.C. Armstrong, 1894), 187.

Forgiveness.  “And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ And they cast lots to divide his garments” (Lk. 23:34; Isa. 53:12).  Jesus desires and prays for the forgiveness of his enemies, but this would only be possible by men being willing to repent and obey Christ to receive remission of sins.

Jesus calls upon us, His disciples, to extend love and kindness to those against us (Lk. 6:35).

Salvation.  “And he said to him, ‘Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise’” (Lk. 23:43).  The two thieves represent two distinct attitudes toward Christ. The context before the verse reads: One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, ‘Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!’  But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?  And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong’” (Lk. 23:39-41).

The key to remember is that Jesus gives salvation: “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” (Lk. 5:24).

Responsibility.  When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’” (Jn. 19:26).  John is understood to be the disciple being referred to here (Jn. 2:4; 13:23; 21:7, 20) and he is the only one who records it.

In this saying, we witness the love and care that Jesus exhibited toward his loved ones.  He was providing for His mother, even at the time of His death (1 Tim. 5:8).

Loneliness. “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Matt. 27:46).  The quotation is from Psalm 22:1. There is much here on which to study, meditate, and pray in order to begin to understand anything about it.  It is a statement of loneliness based upon separation.

G. Campbell Morgan wrote:

Alone in the supreme hour in the history of the race, Christ uttered these words, and in them light breaks out, and yet merges, not into darkness, into light so blinding that no eye can bear to gaze. The words are recorded, not to finally reveal, but to reveal so much as it is possible for men to know, and to set a limit at the point where men may never know. The words were uttered that men may know, and that men may know how much there is that may not be known. In that strange cry that broke from the lips of the Master there are at least three things perfectly clear. Let them be named and considered. It is the cry of One Who has reached the final issue of sin. It is the cry of One Who has fathomed the deepest depth of sorrow. It is the cry of One Himself o’erwhelmed in the mystery of silence. Sin, sorrow, silence (G. Campbell Morgan, The Crises of the Christ (New York: Fleming H. Revell Co.), 297.

The Hebrew writer wrote, “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence” (Heb. 5:7).  Our Lord was paying the ransom price for the sins of the whole world (Ac. 20:28; Heb. 9:22).

Humanity.  “After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), ‘I thirst’” (Jn. 19:28).  This is mentioned in Psalm 69:21.

The humanity of Jesus is shown here.  Jesus relates to our physical nature.  This is the only recorded statement of a physical need while on the cross.

Victory.  “When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (Jn. 19:30).  The goal of Jesus was to finish the task given by the Father (Jn. 4:34).  The victory over sin was being accomplished.  The fact that “Jesus Saves” comes ringing loud and clear because He came to “seek and save the lost” (Lk. 19:10).

Guy N. Woods wrote:

The words “It is finished,” sum up all that he came to do; the redemption of mankind was now being achieved and the course which had been laid out for him from the beginning, had been completed. His life and work, his suffering and death, the shame and agony of the cross, are all viewed as behind him and in triumph he shouts, It is finished! (Guy N. Woods, The Gospel According to John (Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1981), 408.

Commendation.  “Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this he breathed his last” (Lk. 23:46).  The final recorded statement of Jesus fulfilled Psalm 31:5.

R.C. Foster wrote:

He died a thousand million deaths on the cross as He died for all of us.  We cannot comprehend how great was His suffering for us.  If we could multiply the agony of death by as many millions of people as have lived in this world, we might approach the sum-total of His suffering: He bore the sins of all mankind as He died.  As His life was absolutely unique, so was His death.  His death was actual and real, but His suffering was so much greater than any of  us can ever know that we can scarcely comprehend it.  Jesus did not say: “I am finished.”  This saying (or words to the same effect) is so often heard from mortal man in the hour of death.  He has done all he can to fend off the fatal hour, but he cannot fight on any longer and so he cries: “I am finished.”  Not so with the Son of God.  The voluntary character of Jesus’ death is everywhere seen in the record of these hours on the cross.  He says: “It is finished.”  His thought is of the supreme work of God which He left heaven to accomplish (R.C. Foster, Studies in the Life of Christ (Joplin: College Press, 1995), 1284-85.

What Jesus said on the cross gives us a window to peer through to see into the greatest sacrifice ever given in the history of mankind.

Steve serves on the board of directors for the Carolina Messenger and is one of the ministers at the Gold Hill Road congregation in Fort Mill, SC.

Scriptural Points on Church Government — David R. Pharr

There is an obvious contrast between the ecclesiasticisms of modern religious groups and the simplicity of church government in Christ’s original plan. Solomon wrote: “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions” (Eccl. 7:29). Though this observation can have broader application, it certainly fits the way denominations have invented unscriptural schemes by which their churches are governed. The great apostasy which resulted in the hierarchy of Catholicism grew out of men assuming high positions of authority for themselves (Acts 20:29ff).  Protestantism and the denominations which followed broke free of many of the errors of Rome, but for the most part could not give up the politics of centralized control. Even those which claim congregational autonomy may feel constrained by and be pressured by denominational conventions.

Christ the Head

In the scriptural plan Christ is the only head of the church and the only headquarters is Heaven (1 Pet. 3:22; Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22-23). He has absolute authority (Matt. 28:18-20) and no legislation is acceptable from any other source. It is not our purpose in this article to argue that the Scriptures alone reveal the instructions of our King, but knowing that to be the case, we surely see the error of councils which claim authority for themselves. It has been demonstrated over and over that the larger and more prestigious denominational organizations become, the further will be their departures from the truth. A recent egregious example was in a council voting to ordain homosexual bishops. That was a case of an unscriptural board approving an immoral lifestyle for a non-biblical position.

His Ambassadors

The Head of the church commissioned the apostles to be his representatives on earth (2 Cor. 5:20; 1 Cor. 14:37). These ambassadors of Christ declared the gospel and guided the proper formation of the congregations. It was through them that the commandments of Christ are made known (Matt. 28:18-20). It is important to understand that their instructions originated with and had the authority of Christ. He told them: “Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven (Matt. 18:18, NASU, emp. mine). This reminds us of David’s assurance: “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven” (Ps. 119:89).

The ministry of the apostles was in the context of history. Revelation of the pattern was progressive. That is, in various places situations arose which required apostolic guidance. The instructions they gave in those situations demonstrate the principles by which the church is to be guided today. In this way the New Testament gives a pattern which ought to be followed.

In telling the apostles that their authority would originate in heaven, he added: “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst” (Matt. 18:19-20). This is sometimes thought to be assurance for those in small church gatherings, but that is hardly the application. In Acts 15 we find more than “two or three” of the apostles (and others) being together to affirm the truth regarding the Gentiles. This is the only time recorded of apostles meeting together over a doctrinal issue. However, it was not to legislate but to affirm for the brotherhood what Christ had already revealed.

Pattern Unchanged

This emphasis on apostolic authority is necessary because the world is not satisfied with the ancient order of things. The common notion is that the apostles’ teaching and practice was satisfactory back then, but hardly suitable for changing times. This presumes the Lord’s failure to provide a plan suitable for all nations and all times. Such presumption ignores not only the intended universality of the apostolic commission (Great Commission), but also Christ’s assurance regarding the apostles: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).

There were movements even in New Testament times to depart from the original order. As a reason for not being “carried about with divers and strange doctrines,” the Hebrews writer emphasized: “Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Heb. 13:7-9). Whatever in any creed, discipline, manual, or private opinion that is thought to be an improvement on the Scriptural pattern is an affront to the infallibility and unchangeableness of the risen Lord. The “faith,” the true Christian system, was “once for all delivered” (Jude 3).

The biblical pattern makes no provision for succession of the apostolic office.  This is evident when after the martyrdom of James no one was chosen to replace him.  (Paul’s commission without being one of the twelve was unique, with a special purpose regarding Gentiles, but was not to be in place of James).

Local Congregations

Baptized believers who worked and worshiped in a given area constituted a local congregation. Their assemblies together identified them as a church of Christ. Though in each Christian’s relationship with Christ he or she was part of the universal church, earthly membership was in local congregations. Each congregation organized after the New Testament pattern and faithfully serving Christ was in itself as completely a church of Christ as was any other congregation in the whole world.  Christian were expected to assemble together (Heb. 10:25). Those who traveled to other places were expected to connect themselves with the local church there (Acts 9:26; 11:26; Rom. 16:1ff).

Local congregations were known collectively as “churches of Christ” (Rom. 16:16). These were all part of the same cause and cooperated with one another, but were autonomous bodies. Unlike the inter-congregational arrangements of denominations, there was no hierarchy ruling over districts, states, or the world.

The letter Paul wrote to the church of Christ at Philippi was addressed: “To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons” (Phil. 1:1). The term “saints” applies to all Christians (cf. 1 Cor. 1:2). “Bishops and deacons” refers to men qualified for leadership and service positions in the congregations. Another word for “bishop” is “overseer.” This implies leadership. The scriptural pattern is for a plurality of bishops to guide a local congregation. A church was not “set in order” until qualified men could be given this responsibility (Titus 1:5-9).

Other New Testament terms are used interchangeably in reference to the role of bishops. They are called “elders” (“presbyters”), reflecting their being men of experience. They are called “pastors” (“shepherds”) to show their loving care for the “sheep” in their charge. A review of various passages, such as Acts 20:28 and 1 Peter 5:1-4,  where these terms are used will prove that all applied to the same office. One will find, however, that the ways the same terms are frequently used today are different from the simplicity found in Scripture. Bishops/elders/pastors must meet qualifications (Titus 1:5-9; 1 Tim. 3:1-7). They are themselves subject to Christ and must never yield to their own self-interest (1 Pet. 5:1-4).

Another point about church government which denominations often choose to ignore is the pattern of male leadership. Paul, guided by the Holy Spirit, wrote: “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence” (1 Tim. 2:12). Only men were chosen to be elders. We should take note of the fact that Christ chose no female apostles. This is not to be interpreted to mean spiritual, moral, or intellectual inferiority, only that God made us male and female and has assigned different roles.

The deacons in New Testament congregations met qualification which made them suitable for special service assignments. It is likely that the seven men chosen to serve a special need in Jerusalem were deacons, though the term is not used in the text (Acts 6:1-6). (Diakoneo, a derivative of diakonos, the Greek term transliterated “deacon,” is used in Acts 6:2.)  Deacons are not overseers. Instead, they are expected like all the members to obey those who have been scripturally appointed to rule the congregation (Heb. 13:17).  The Acts 6 example indicates they are “special servants” whom the leaders of the church put in charge over various ministries of the local congregation.

Ephesians 4:11-12 indicates that in addition to the inspired apostles and prophets who gave the church the New Testament (cf. Eph.  3:3-5; 2 Pet. 1:19-21) and the pastors who oversaw the church as elders, evangelists and teachers also worked in the local congregation to “equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.”  The work of evangelists is to bring the gospel to the lost, while the work of teachers is to teach and spiritually build up the saints.  Preachers and ministers such as Timothy were given the responsibility to “do the work of an evangelist” and to “teach others” (2 Tim. 4:5; 2:2).  Many preachers are financially supported in their work by local congregations (1 Cor. 9:4-14; 2 Cor. 11:8-9; Phil. 4:14-19).  Serving under the oversight and authority of the overseers of the local church, they are to “preach the Word” (2 Tim. 4:2) “with all authority” (Tit. 2:15).

“Follow The Pattern”

In spite of the apostasy of many in departing from the simple organization found in the New Testament, churches of Christ must still heed “the pattern of sound words” which are found in the inspired writings of the apostles and prophets and in so doing, “guard the good deposit” entrusted to us (2 Tim. 1:13-14).  The biblical pattern for church organization exists and is clearly seen in Scripture.  We must work hard “not to go beyond what is written” (1 Cor. 4:6) and submit to the wisdom of God as shown in his plan for the organization of his church.

David is the former editor of the Carolina Messenger and serves on its board of directors. 

Jesus As King: An Old Testament Perspective — Gantt Carter

As Christians, we often sing phrases like, “Jesus is Lord” and “He’s my king.” Jesus is not only our Savior from our sins, but He also the Supreme King we are to submit to in love. The reality of Jesus’ kingship/lordship is set forth throughout the Writings of the New Covenant, the covenant in His blood.

Before the Jewish crowd makes their request, the apostle Peter proclaims that “God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36). “Lord” can also be translated as “Master” and “Christ” as “Messiah.” Jesus of Nazareth is the Master and the Messiah, and that truth is at the core of Christianity (cf. Phil 2:5-11).

The Perspective

This important concept of Jesus as King/Lord did not begin in the first century A.D. The truth builds on the history of God and Israel and flows out of several passages in the writings of the Old Covenant. In fact, the Hebrew term we translate as “Messiah” refers to one who is anointed, especially as a king. Jesus fulfills the thrust of the Old Covenant and the Scriptures given during that time (see 1 Cor. 15:1-4). Consider Jesus own words and actions:

“And he said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:25-27, cf. 32, 44-47).

Please join me now in an overview of the Old Covenant perspective on Jesus as King and Lord.

The Prophecies

The first specific reference to the coming One is in Genesis 3:15, but the first reference to His kingship may be near the end of the same inspired book. Within the blessings of Jacob upon his twelve sons, we find the following:

“Judah is a lion’s cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples (Gen. 49:9-10).

The lineage of Judah is significant for more than one reason in the history of Israel. David, king of Israel, descended from Judah and all succeeding kings came from Judah. Othniel, the first judge, was of the tribe of Judah (1 Chr. 4:13). The temple builders, Solomon and Zerubbabel, also descended from Judah (1 Chr. 3). King Jesus came as the new temple (John 1:14-18; 2:19), and His people are the temple as they are added to His body (Eph. 2:19-22).

Although dismissed by some, we submit that Genesis 49:9-10 is a foretelling of the timing and nature of the coming One (cf. Num. 24:17). Even many Jews through history believed this text to be about the Messiah. As we reflect on this, what can we see here?

1) He would be a descendant of Judah, the tribe of the kings (Matt. 1:2-3).

2) He would come while the authority of Judah was still perceptible. The last of any indication of royal Judah ceased with the Roman occupation. The Romans removed their authority and destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D. With the second temple and the genealogies destroyed, there is not even a possibility of rulership out of Judah or someone claiming to be the rightful King of Israel.

3) He would receive tribute (as King). We can translate this portion of the text as “until Shiloh comes” or as a reference to the “ruler’s staff” belonging to Him. “Shiloh” is often considered to be another title for the coming One.

4) All people and nations would submit to Him in obedience, giving Him honor. Jew and Gentile unified as they joyfully submit to their one King (Eph. 1-4).

In 2 Samuel 7, God gives King David a powerful promise about his kingly lineage. The most immediate fulfillment is in Solomon and the succeeding kings from Judah until the exile. However, God later foretells of yet another coming king, a Davidic king who would finally fulfill the ultimate purpose of God for His people. The term “Branch” below may be a technical term for the legal heir to an established royal line of kings.

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness’” (see Jer. 33:14-26; Ezek. 34:20-24; 37:24; Is. 11:10).

Gabriel tells the mother of Jesus that He will receive the throne of David and reign forever with His empire never ending (Luke 1:32-33). That parallels Isaiah who observes that the growth of His government and peace will be endless; that He will reign with justice and righteousness forever and ever (note Is. 9:6-7). Regarding David’s own understanding of the promises, Peter states:

“Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption” (Acts 2:30-31; cf. Ps. 16:8-11; 110:1).

Zechariah, who prophesied after the return from exile, employs “the Branch” language in the inspired document that bears his name. At first glance in chapter six, God seems to only refer to the then present son of Jehozadak, Joshua (see Zech. 6:9-15; cf. 3:8-10). But we submit that the ultimate application of these words is to the final “Joshua” or “Jesus.” (Jesus and Joshua in English are from the same Hebrew name for “Yahweh saves”). Zechariah refers to a priest also ruling as a king (v. 13; cf. Jer. 33:17-18). Although unlawful under the Mosaic Law, Jesus is the King and the High Priest of His New Covenant and Law.

Zechariah 9:9 foretells of a king who brings righteousness and salvation as he rides humbly on a donkey’s colt. Verse 10 includes a reference to battle and to the extension of his dominion but shows him speaking peace to the nations. Matthew 21:1-11 provides us with a clear fulfillment of this text in the life of Jesus as He enters Jerusalem gently and humbly on a colt. Born in David’s Bethlehem (Mic. 5:1-2; Luke 2:1-7), the eternal Ruler shepherds His flock “in the strength of the Lord, and in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God” (Mic. 5:4a).

The last chapter of Zechariah gives us a (at least slightly) different portrayal of Israel’s coming king. First, a terrible and violent battle scene is picture (14:1-2), and then Yahweh Himself goes to war with the nations on behalf of His people (v. 3; cf. 9:14-17). If the Lord is the King after all, then what does this say of Jesus? Jesus is a member of the Godhood. Yes, He is the Great I Am (Ex. 3:13-14; John 8:58; Phil. 2:5-11). Jesus is the Lord, the Master of the universe.

The language of Zechariah 14 relates well to the second Psalm and the lyrics about the possession and the wrath of the King and Son (Ps. 2:6-12). Let there be no doubt, this Messiah is a force to be reckoned with (cf. Ps. 102:25-27; Heb. 1:10-12). But as the battle smoke clears, note the beautiful and powerful words below:

“On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half of it east to the Dead Sea and half of it west to the Mediterranean Sea, in summer and in winter. The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name” (Zech. 14:8-9).

On one hand, the Messiah meekly rids a donkey into town and suffers terribly for His people (Zech. 12:10-11; Is. 53). On the other hand, He proudly marches into battle and crushes His enemies with comprehensive authority. This seeming oddity led some Jews to conclude that there would be two different Messiahs: Ben Yosef (the suffering son of Joseph) and ben David (the ruling son of David). Others saw and continue to see this as either different possibilities or different points in time.

The Point

We know that Jesus became King by means of His death, resurrection, and ascension to the throne in heaven. The good news is “Your God reigns” (Is. 52:7). The Messiah was and is the ultimate Prophet, Priest, and King (Heb. 1:1-13) of the true Israel (Gal. 6:16).

Zechariah 14 may refer to the gospel even in a certain sense, or perhaps it pictures the final coming of the Messiah. A time when He will deal with evil and suffering once and for all and rescue His people by granting them life forever with Him (Heb. 9:28; 1 Cor. 15:24-28; 1 Thess. 4:13-5:6).

Jesus was and is the long-awaited King that the people of Israel were longing to come and bring them final deliverance and peace. Of course, the fulfillment of these promises did not always match their perceptions of what He would be and how He would accomplish His work. As noted above, the true messiah (anointed King) is far more than a mere earthly king. For example, examine the way Jesus quotes and applies Psalm 110:1 in Matthew 22:41-45.

As the Prince of peace (Is. 9:6), He is their security and He is their peace (Mic. 5:4b-5). His peace is a different kind of peace than that of the world (John 14:27). His peace is about finding rest for our weary souls (Jer. 6:16; Matt. 11:28-30; Phil. 4:4-9). He reigns in our hearts as we delightfully obey His commands.

As Christians, we eagerly await the return of the King. He will quiet us by His love and sing loudly to us (Zeph. 3:15-20). We shall see the King someday!

Gantt resides in Elk City, Oklahoma, with his wife and two children. He is the preaching minister at the 2nd & Adams congregation.

 

Jesus-Centered Evangelism — Edwin S. Jones

Church growth, in my experience, seems to have developed much like a game I grew up with, “Pass it On.” In this game, someone reads a message from a piece of paper, whispers the words to the next person and so on until the relayed message gets back to the person with the original. Even if you have not played the game, I suspect you know what happens.

As has been observed in conversations about the Restoration Principle, the source, Scripture, is the only place to go if we are to be sure we are getting Christianity right. My following words on evangelism suggest we need to apply this original source principle to our outreach efforts. See what you think.

Have We Seen What The Bible Reveals?

When we see the various ways that evangelism is promoted and defined among us, we ought to ask ourselves why the New Testament does not address evangelism the way we commonly do.  Where, for instance, do we find much of our current language represented in principle in the New Covenant?

Where are all the verses urging us to remember to take the gospel to our friends and neighbors?  Where are all the “deathbed” stories?  And where do we find that inspiration’s favorite inquiry is, “If you died tonight would you be lost?” Odd, do you not think, that such things, and many more modern areas of emphasis, are conspicuous by their absence in the Bible?

By speaking this way I do not at all want to question anyone’s sincerity or deny that the reality that souls have been won by the gospel through methods I believe to be a few steps removed from strict biblical patterns. What I ask us to do is to see what we discover by taking a fresh look at Scripture.

I purpose we need to take another look at the Bible to measure our efforts by the original message. We would agree God’s Word is the very place we will find God’s plan for evangelism.  It is in Scripture where we will learn what we are asked to do in church growth.

When we embark upon a search for the original message about evangelism, we will see a picture that is both personal and practical.  We will discover that the most basic needs in evangelism are not for more programs, better methods, bigger and fancier campaigns, or an increasing reliance on mass media.  The main need, the most central component of evangelism, is found in our daily living of the principles of Jesus.  It is the daily practice of biblical Christianity that Scripture emphasizes.

God’s goal for the church has always been that Christians would be conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29).  It is therefore no coincidence that the Bible says Scripture gives us “the knowledge of the Son of God to a mature man, the measure and stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13).  We have, consequently, “the mind of Christ” revealed in the New Testament (1 Cor. 2:16).

The “mind of Christ” is, however, not intended to be something that is  found only on the printed page.  We are to have Christ’s mind in us (Phil. 2:5). Paul’s prayer for brethren was that they would have Christ dwelling in their hearts by faith (Eph. 3:16-17; cf. Rom. 10:17).  Paul intended that every Christian would be a living epistle (2 Cor. 3:1-4)!

The “process” of this transformation is most significant.  We learn in the Bible that it is a daily walk with Christ that changes us from the inside out. We are to look to the Lord as the model or pattern for our change, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18; cf. Rom. 12:1-2). In this process, we are to “in humility receive the word implanted,” and “prove ourselves doers of the word and not merely hearers” (Jas. 1:21-22).

Paul could well relate to this process of transformation for he was a zealous participant, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Gal. 2:20).  Paul practiced what he preached and we must also realize that the preaching of this process of transformation was not a lesser concern—it was central to Paul’s message.

In Colossians 1:24-29 we find Paul relating the plan he used when  he  worked  with newly formed congregations.  We are more accustomed to thinking of Paul as a congregation starter.  However, we need to see the rest of the story—how Paul worked to bring congregations to maturity.  This methodology is vital to understanding our need for evangelism. Also, we need to understand that this method was not the exclusive method of Paul. Paul did not start the Colossian church; it was Epaphras. Nevertheless, Paul knew that the approach he took was the approach taken by all who would follow the Lord’s pattern.

Paul pointed out in this passage that Christ “in” a Christian was a believer’s hope of glory (Col. 1:27).  Paul saw his ministry to the saved as being one of presenting them “complete in Christ” (Col. 1:28).  It was for that very purpose that Paul would “labor and strive” (Col. 1:29). This work or labor of developing Christ in a Christian was what Paul engaged in after he planted a church (cf. Acts 20:17-35).

This plan that Paul pursued with such diligence is reflected in his striking remarks to the churches of Galatia.  The brethren in Galatia were being led astray by Judaizing teachers who sought to take them into a legalistic, Old Testament oriented manifestation of Christianity. Paul knew that the brothers and sisters only real hope was in bringing them to maturity in Christ.  His words still ring with passion, “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you” (Gal. 4:19).

Paul well understood that if the Christian life was to be lived successfully, people had to be brought to maturity.  The maturing process would not only provide great preventive medicine against false teachers and false doctrine; it would equip the saints for their work of service (Eph. 4:12-15).

It is with the most positive aspect of Christianity, Christ-likeness, that we find the Bible’s central teaching about evangelism.  As we “grow up in all things unto Him who is the head, even Christ” (Eph. 4:15), one of those “things” is most certainly evangelism.  As we become more like Jesus, we become better able to relate to the lost in Jesus’ own way and as suggested by the Great Commission, “as you are going” (Matt. 28:18-20).

In taking this look at the way of Christ concerning evangelism, we must be careful to understand the seriousness of reviving this vital pattern.  We would be most remiss if we saw the value of the pattern for first becoming a Christian, organizing the church, and worshipping God under the authority of Jesus, but did not esteem God’s pattern for evangelism.

Even as Moses was instructed by God to “make all things according to the pattern” (Heb. 8:5), so we must give “much greater attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it” (Heb. 2:1).  There is a great need for the church to return to God’s pattern for evangelism!

The Christ-Centered Evangelistic Plan

The New Testament pattern for evangelism is what the church needs. This pattern centers in personal Christ-likeness.  All through the record of the New Testament the church is constantly and passionately admonished to live in a manner compatible to the nature of Christ.  That is what walking in the light and fellowship are all about.  “If we walk in the light as He, Himself is in the light; we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son, cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Consider the wisdom of this plan.  Who could do a better job with God’s work than a person conformed in a mature way to the image of Jesus?  Is there a better plan than that?  Of course not!

There could be no better way of conducting the Father’s business.  Whether the service to God would involve benevolence, edification or evangelism, the best way to conduct the business of God is to do it as Christ would do it.  Jesus’ entire earthly mission was followed by a singular devotion to the will of the Father (John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38; 8:28; 12:49; 14:10).  We cannot do no better than to follow His example.

As we come to see the significance of the Christ-centered New Testament plan, we come to see certain well-known teachings in a broader light.  For instance, consider the Bible’s teachings on Christ as the head of the church (Eph. 1:22; 4:15; 5:23; Col. 1:18; 2:19; I Cor. 11:3).  We realize that this means that there is only one head and thus only one church.  This is devastating to modern denominationalism, but there is more to this teaching than just what it rules out.  There is much here that is ruled in.

By studying the headship of Christ as it relates to the need for the church to practice biblical evangelism, we might readily think of a number of applications.  One example is how a body cannot function unless it receives instructions from the head.  Likewise, the church cannot carry out God’s will unless it understands the thinking of the head, Christ.  Without a strong connection to Jesus, the church is capable of only spasmodic movements that cannot accomplish God’s purpose.

Remember the slogan for the United Negro College Fund, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste”?  That memorable phrase has an application to our subject.  The church has been given the mind of Christ (I Cor. 2:16) and each Christian is to take up that mind (Phil. 2:5).  What a waste it would be if Christians looked to themselves and their own devices in evangelism, rather than to the thinking of Christ.

Another thing in this evangelistic rethinking of ours concerns Christ as the Master Teacher.  We readily acknowledge that Jesus is the master teacher, the greatest teacher that ever lived.  Are we, however, really using what we know about Him in our evangelistic efforts? To what extent are our evangelistic patterns compatible with the practices of Jesus? Do we traditionally begin with a first look at the Christ, or at something steps removed?

What we do learn from Jesus is unmistakably that He did not have any one-size-fits-all method.  While He was always seeking to get people to arrive at the same place,  His methods were as numerous as the people, circumstances and situations He faced.  The truth never changed, but the way Jesus addressed the many conditions He encountered was forever changing. Is that not one of the main reasons we call Him the “Master Teacher”?

I realize that Jesus’ approach requires maturity and growth before a Christian would be able to go at personal evangelism in such a flexible way.  I also know that the various program methods available can be helpful in getting us to a more confident, mature, flexible approach.  However, I even more significantly know that we rarely give priority to the flexible teaching example of Christ.  We speak of Christianity being a lifestyle; yet rarely see the obvious connection with evangelism being a lifestyle.  We might go as far as to say that Christianity is God’s plan for evangelism just as it is for everything else.

Methods can easily get us in a rut.  A thing that might help us to grow can, at times, actually become a crutch. Studies have shown that the most effective means of study is one person sitting across the table from another with an open Bible between them.  Good, old-fashioned Bible studies that use the Bible as the “equipment” not to mention Jesus sanctified in the heart as the always ready as you are going “method.”

One more thing about the Jesus emphasis, and this might be the most important benefit of all.  As we come to know Him better we will grow in our love for Him. When all has been said, the conclusion of this and all things Christian is this.  If we love Jesus, we will keep His commandments (Jn. 14:15, 23; 2 Cor. 5:14-15)! Good bye apathy, hello Christ motivated life!

Conclusion

Brethren, the need for evangelism is great, but evangelism needs to be understood by first listening to God.  The slower, less sensational way of the New Testament is to be chosen over a  “quick fix.”  We of all people who stand for  Pattern Theology should make every effort to get back to the Bible to learn the old way of evangelism.

“Thus says the Lord, ‘Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it!” (Jer. 6:16a).

Edwin has been active in a wide variety of ministries for almost fifty years.  Currently he serves the Lehman Avenue congregation in Bowling Green, KY, and is director of the Commonwealth Bible Academy (CBAKY.com).

 

Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ — Robert Bedenbaugh, Jr.

It has been said, “One who studies only the Bible doesn’t know much about it.” This statement recognizes the fact that we are so greatly removed from the original languages. Even what we can read “in black and white” is just a translation and “some things do get lost in translation.” Conversely “commentaries written by men are just that” and not the Word of God. I admit at times, early in life, I blindly disregarded God’s Word because reading and understanding modern human writings was an easier choice compared to following 2 Timothy 2:15.

Instead, consider supplementing your personal Bible study with reference books of the original language: dictionaries, concordances, lexicons, and the like. Any human comment(ary) must refer back to God’s Word or it is opinion. Discern what God meant by where, how, and in what context He used words versus what someone says He meant.

As we explore our topic, we will consider both words, Lord and Savior, their generic and specifically divine uses, and introduce another word that may help blend the two together and clarify our understanding of His role as both our Lord and our Savior.

Jesus Christ, Our Lord (Romans 1:4)

The word kurios, translated “lord,” may also be translated as “master” when referring to one who is in control of another person (Acts 16:16-19; Eph. 6:5-9) and “sir” in situations of cordial politeness (John 4:11-19, 49; 5:7). It is also used and typically translated “lord” when referring to an owner of a thing. Each references, at its root, the ultimate power to control the fate of a person or thing.

Jesus is referred to as the Lord of inanimate objects. He’s Lord of the Sabbath (Matt. 12:1-8,; Mark 2:23-28; Luke 6:1-5). Since He and His Father are One (John 10:30), He is also Lord of heaven and earth (Matt. 11:25; Luke 10:21; Acts 17:24) and Lord of the harvest (Matt. 9:38; Luke 10:2). None of these come as a surprise since He is Lord of everything that exists (Ps. 24:1; John 1:3; 1 Cor. 8:6).

Neither is it a surprise that He is Lord of His people, since they are His (Rom. 12:13; 1 Cor. 6:2). In fact, He is Lord of all people (Acts 10:36; Phil. 2:11) even of those that are called lords (1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 17:14; 19:16). Incidentally, what comes to mind when you hear “Jesus is Lord of lords”? Replace the word “Lord” with any of our definitions. He is Master of masters. He is Controller of controllers. He is in control of those who are in control. He decides the fate of those who decide fates. He is Lord of lords…and King of kings or Ruler of those who rule and reigns over those who reign.

But our topic says “our Lord.” Is He? There are two answers to this question because there are two points of view, one objective and one subjective. If we stand back and view our relationship with Him as the Creator and the Creation, then absolutely yes, He is everyone’s Lord as we noticed earlier (Acts 10:36; Phil. 2:11). He is Lord of all and one day all will admit that fact. Yet if we consider our personal relationship with Him, and ask, “Is Jesus my Lord?”, there may be a different answer. We’re given the opportunity in this life to voluntarily submit to Him and have Him as our Lord (Josh. 24:14-24). We can choose to do otherwise and often we all do fail to submit to Him and allow our lives to be mastered, controlled, and owned by Him.

Some years back, I saw a little skit exemplifying this very thing. The stage was the life of a little girl and in the middle of the stage was a throne. As the skit began, she was on the throne of her life and various individuals would come on stage representing friends and acquaintances, each putting her in different situations. She was in charge and did what she willed. Shortly, one friend actually brought in another friend whose name was Jesus. Jesus and the little girl were introduced and the friend helped the little girl understand who Jesus was, what He had done, what He offered the little girl, and what He required (Matt. 7:21). Essentially, He wanted to sit on the throne of her life. She agreed, got down out of the throne and Jesus sat down becoming her master.

Friends and acquaintances continued to come.  In each situation, she’d ask Jesus what she should do. She would obey, even if she didn’t like His answer. Her friends wouldn’t understand her choices and might ridicule her but she obeyed. As the situations became more intense, she began to argue with Jesus and even try to squeeze herself into the throne with Jesus. At the climax, she shoved Jesus out of the throne of her life and she sat down. She was back in charge. Jesus stood up from the floor, dusted Himself off, and simply asked her, “What are you doing?”

Brothers and sisters, have you ever been there?  Have you ever been at a point where you could imagine that Jesus was asking you, “What are you doing?” Maybe you’re there now. Maybe you’re in that far off country eating pig slop. Someone is waiting for you. Come to your senses and do yourself a favor.  Go home and be willing to owned. Instead, you’ll actually be treated like family (Luke 15:11-24).

Is He your Lord? Objectively, He is whether you like it or not and one day you’ll admit that He is Lord. Subjectively, only you and He know the answer. If He isn’t on the throne of your life, get out of His way and let Him be your Master, your Controller, your Lord.

Jesus Christ, Our Savior (Titus 1:4)

The word soter, translated “savior,” is defined as just that, a savior, a deliverer, a preserver. At that, I think of a life preserver without which we would lose our spiritual life, drowning in sin and its consequences. Maybe you think of something else but roll those words over in your mind and get a good picture of the act of saving. In case that were not enough of a word picture, we look beyond the word to its root.

So often we learn more about a given word by researching its etymology. The noun soter has its root in the verb sozo which is defined as “to save” but also “to make well,” “to restore to health or heal,”, and “to make whole.” Hopefully the analogies are obvious. Jesus Christ, our Savior makes us well from the disease of sin, restores and heals our sin-sick soul, and makes our spiritual life whole again.

He is Savior in both His accolades and in His actions. Let’s observe His accolades as Savior. He is the promised Savior (Acts 13:23), the Savior of His body, the church (Eph. 5:23), and, as pointed about above, the Savior of the world (John 4:42, 1 John 4:14). Even His human name, Jesus, means savior, deliverer, and rescuer (Matt. 1:21). Let’s also notice His actions as Savior. He gives repentance and forgiveness of sins (Acts 5:31), abolishes death and brings life and immortality (2 Tim. 1:10), and is the medium through whom God richly poured out His Holy Spirit (Tit. 3:4-6).

Without any of these facts about or deeds done by Jesus Christ, He would not be our Savior because we would not be saved, nor made well or whole, nor restored to health or healed. He is the Savior of the world because all humanity has the opportunity to have this salvation (Tit. 2:11) but He is, most affectionately, pictured as the Savior of His people (Matt. 1:21; 23:37).

Let’s stay with our last reference (Matt. 23:37), where Christ says He longed to gather the children of Jerusalem as a hen gathers her chicks under her wing. Google images of a hen with her brood. That’s the picture Christ is sharing. He, with arms out-stretched, gathers, covers, and protects those who are His family, or at least He wants to. He desires to self-sacrificingly suffer by sheltering those He loves so dearly, but He is brought to tears by those who “were not willing.”

Are there benefits to being “gathered” to the Savior of the world? Certainly so. There is fellowship with Him and the Father (1 John 1:3). There is life in the light without darkness (John 8:12; 12:44-46; 1 John 1:5-7) but with godliness and contentment (1 Tim. 6:6-10). And just as we see in Matthew 23:37, there is a family (Eph. 2:19-22; Gal. 6:10; 1 Tim. 3:14-15).

Have you been gathered to Christ? Are you gently nestled close to Him…or have you been unwilling? Only in Him who is the fullness of the deity (Col. 2:9) can every spiritual blessing be found (Eph. 1:3). He invites each of us as a group and individually to come to Him (Matt. 11:28-30).

Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ

It is interesting that these exact words are only found three times and each is in the book of 2 Peter (1:11; 2:20; 3:18). Paul does mention the idea once and so does Jude to some degree, but only Peter pens “κυρίου ἡμῶν καὶ σωτῆρος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.” But before we comment on that, let’s have a few thoughts on inspiration.

I would never argue against the fact that all scripture is God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16) and I, in no way, acknowledge or subscribe to neither dynamic inspiration nor limited inspiration. However, it is noteworthy that each pen-wielder of our New Testament has a personal style. The elite education of Paul can be seen in the letters he penned (large compound words and long sentences) and likewise for John and his lack of formal education (small words and short sentences, yet just as profound). Luke, the physician, has his personality revealed as well. We also have Peter, who, by inspiration, openly admitted that some things Paul wrote were hard to understand (2 Pet. 3:16).

Peter, like John, came from a simple life and was promised to be transformed from a “human who fished” into one who “fished for humans” (Luke 5:10).  His is the only pen that writes “our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” and only three times in only one letter.  Why him and no one else?  I’m not sure that question can be answered this side of eternity, but let it suffice to say that all scripture is God-breathed and the roles of both Lord and Savior are not contradictory but complementary in every way.

The Good Shepherd (John 10)

It seems the roles described separately by the terms Lord and Savior may come together in the role of Shepherd. Jesus shows the Good Shepherd is Lord of the sheep because He owns them (John 10:14) and He even calls them “My sheep” (v. 27). Jesus also indicates that the Good Shepherd is Savior of the sheep because He lays down His life for them (vs. 11, 15) and provides life to them (v. 28).

Consider Psalm 23:1-3 where David wrote of the responsibilities of a shepherd as fulfilled by God. He, as Lord, commands His sheep making them to lie down and leading them. He, as Savior, provides His sheep with that which is required for life (still waters and green pastures) and even restores their very soul.

I close by asking the reader to examine Ezekiel 34 and notice the word pictures God uses of how His sheep were being treated and how He would treat them, being their master and their healer. Also recall the parable of the lost sheep and the risk the Shepherd takes and the care He provides (Luke 15:4-6) all because of His compassion for them (Matthew 9:36). Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, truly is the Good Shepherd.

Robert worships at the Seneca Church of Christ in Seneca, SC, with his wife, Heather, and their daughter, Savannah.

 

 

 

“Jesus Is Lord”, A Controversial Phrase — Caleb Colley

Christians love to say and sing the words “Jesus is Lord,” because the phrase is a summary statement of biblical faith. It affirms not only that there is a God, but that the Person of Christ, has visited Earth as Jesus, the Son of Man, and has sacrificed Himself for the sins of the world (Jn. 3:16-17). “Jesus is Lord” is also a basic affirmation of Christ’s exclusive authority over all things on Earth, as He affirmed: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Mt. 28:18; cf. Ph. 2:9-11). To say that “Jesus is Lord” is to imply that Hindu and Buddhist gods have no authority, that Muhammed has no authority, and that no other supposed gods have authority.

“Jesus is Lord” is a short, simple, beautiful phrase. It contains the basic content of the confession that everyone makes in obeying the gospel (Ro. 1:9; cf. 1 Co. 12:3). And yet, this phrase is becoming more controversial.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the student union of the University of Sydney, in Australia, has threatened to revoke its recognition from one particular religious student group, because the religious group centers around Jesus. Since 1998, the religious group has required its members to sign that they believe “Jesus is Lord.” This policy has offended the student union, which now threatens to deprive the religious group of access to university facilities and membership fees. Ironically, the union is using anti-discrimination policies in order to discriminate against the more than 200 students who require belief in Jesus for membership in their religious group.

In the early Christian centuries, many lost their lives because they were committed to the reality that “Jesus is Lord.” Stephen, the first Christian martyr, accused the murderous Jews of killing “The Righteous One,” Jesus, and they stoned him for it (Ac. 7:52-60). Polycarp, a personal friend and pupil of the apostle John, was martyred after refusing to deny Christ. He famously said, “Eighty-six years have I have served him, and he has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?”1.

As culture becomes more secular, it will be more controversial to sweeten our lips with the name of Christ. Nevertheless, we will never stop confessing our Savior (Mt. 10:32-33).

http://www.calebcolley.com

1Philip Schaff, A History of the Christian Church (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1891), 2:52