The substitutionary work of Christ on the cross is marginalized whenever and wherever a fully orbed doctrine of propitiation is marginalized. J.I. Pack & Gary A. Parrett, Grounded in the Gospel , p. 105
When someone says 'evangelist', it seems that many Christians automatically think of a Billy Graham-esque figure: someone who draws huge crowds and preaches the Gospel to thousands of people at a time. But is this a Biblical picture of the ministry of the evangelist or a cultural model? Although we may be able to learn from historical as well as living examples of evangelists to a certain extent, they cannot be a higher authority than the Biblical picture. In fact, the Bible doesn't present us with vast swathes of information regarding this ministry. It's mentioned in Ephesians 4:11, and in Acts 21:8 Philip is identified as an evangelist. The third usage of the word evangelist is when Paul tells Timothy (an apostle) to 'do the work of an evangelist' in 2 Timothy 4:5. Perhaps it's because the word is only used these three times in Scripture that we can be so quick to turn to famous examples to learn about evangelists. Three verses doesn't seem like an a
'God has appointed these in the church: first apostles...' (1 Corinthians 12:28). The Bible clearly states that God has set the apostles first in the church, but what exactly does that mean? Some have argued that apostles had unquestionable and infallible authority (and so they also argue that there couldn't be any apostles today if we are to uphold the priciple of Sola Scriptura). However, this certainly doesn't follow from the text in question. 1 Corinthians 12:28 goes on to say 'second prophets, third teachers'. This is not a passage that sets up the apostleship in a highly exalted unique position over against the rest of the Church, but rather one that speaks of different positions and different ministries within the Church. Others, such as D.A. Carson, have argued that this passage is referring to the chronological order in which various ministries and gifts appeared in the history of the Church. But this doesn't stack up either; the verse places
Seeing as we've just put up a new website for the Leeds assembly and it's all a bit new-fangled, here's a link to yesterday's morning sermon . At the moment we're looking at our Apostolic Identity. So this month we've been focusing on what it means to be Evangelical. Next month it'll be being Pentecostal, and then in June being Apostolic. For this month on being Evangelical we've been looking at the 5 Solas of the Reformation, so yesterday was Sola Scriptura.
Sometimes it's very easy to skip the significance of a word. When the rest of the sentence is so full of important meaning, then it's almost easy to neglect the odd word here and there, thinking of it almost more like filler or simply a linking word. This evening as I was reading Calvin as an afterthought after most of my sermon preparation was done I realized that I was almost doing that with an important word in Sunday's text. It's not that I was neglecting the word; in fact the word in question is actually one of my 3 points. Rather it's that I was neglecting an important implication of the meaning of the word. Happily, a bit of last minute Calvin reading proved profitable. The word in question is, in fact, profitable . The verse is 2 Timothy 3:16. It's an important verse, with lots of important implications, and so it wouldn't be hard not to notice that one little word like profitable was not getting its full voice. What Calvin points out is that if
We live in a world where it's easy not to take responsibility. It seems normal to us that if we don't do something, someone else will. And so that means that it comes very easily to us to neglect the responsibility of personal evangelism. Yes, we know that evangelism is important. Yes, we want to see people saved. Yes, we agree that the church should be doing evangelism. But, it's just there that we so often put off the responsibility onto someone else. "The church" we say, should be doing evangelism. Rather than thinking of evangelism as our responsibility as Christians, we think of it as "the church's" responsibility. And rather than thinking of the church as us, we think of "the church" as some vague entity that does things by itself. But, the church cannot evangelize unless we evangelize! The Body of Christ evangelizes as the members of the Body evangelize. If it's an important responsibility for the church, then it should be an i
1 Timothy 2:5-6 tells us that there is only 1 Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus. A mediator is someone who intervenes between two parties to produce reconciliation, so Mediator is a wonderful word to describe Jesus as that's exactly what He has done - He has produced reconciliation between us and God. 1 Timothy 2:6 tells us how He did that; He 'gave Himself a ransom for all'. At the Cross, Jesus bore God's wrath in our place and so He has reconciled us to God. He is our only Mediator! Salvation is found in Christ alone. The fact that Christ is our only Mediator, our only Saviour, leads us to respond to that marvellous truth. Three important responses spring to mind. Firstly, such a wonderful truth should draw us to worship, praise and thanksgiving. He is the only one who could save us. He is the only one who has given His life to save us. How could we not want to praise and thank Him for the wonders of His saving work on our behalf. Worship should fl