A Question I Was Asked:



Can You Please Explain Four Scriptures?






.

The Question:

Can You Please Explain Four Scriptures?

I am thinking of John 14:12, 1 Corinthians 9:16, Romans 1:16-18 and, finally, Luke 10:1.

Thank you very much.


UK Apologetics Reply:

Okay, here we go.

1. John 14:12.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

This verse is explained in full here.

2. 1 Corinthians 9:16.

For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!

Paul the Apostle, who wrote this book, simply means that his calling was to preach Christ, in other words, he was compelled to preach the Lord Jesus as a matter of calling. Therefore, it was not a matter of boasting (as with a career which one may freely choose), because God gave him this calling. He dare not turn his back on a divine calling.

3. Romans 1:16-18.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed - a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith." The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness

I think the first part of that is self-explanatory. To continue from verse 17, the Gospel reveals the righteousness of God. In the Gospel it is finally made clear that we humans can attain the righteousness of God through faith (sometimes this was hinted at in the Old Testament, but little more). So this was never entirely clear from the Old Testament alone which tended to give the impression that law was all. That is, the impression was that only perfect, unblemished law-keeping could save people. In fact, we all fall short and no human being can attain the righteousness of God through perfect law-keeping. What was needed was a change in the human heart and God Himself had to come to us in order to make this possible. He came to earth and died for all of us upon the cross, paying the penalty which the law had demanded. Since Jesus is God, His death was of greater value than that of all human lives so His one supreme sacrifice was able to facilitate our forgiveness. What is then required is for us to have faith in the efficacy of Christ's perfect sacrifice for repentant sinners. We must have faith that such bounteous grace is indeed available to us - and it is! Fortunately, the very faith which we need is granted to those who are being called.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- (Ephesians 2:8).

Finally, for those who reject this perfect way, "the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven." (verse 18), indeed, especially so for those who suppress the most vital truth of the Gospel.

4. Luke 10:1.

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.

This applied to the first century. The first full evangelistic effort consisted of many teams of two people who went into the towns of Israel before our Lord Himself was due to go to these same places. Our Lord Jesus Himself trained these people to go before Him! It is, therefore, a mistake to believe that these people just went around randomly knocking on doors (in Jehovah's Witnesses style), they probably went into the market place, to the elders/leaders of the town, and such like, but would have followed the instructions of Jesus. The following verses tell us more:

Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. When you enter a house, first say, 'Peace to this house.' If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 'Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.' I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town. (Luke 10:3-12, NIV throughout).

First of all, the comment, "do not take a purse," strongly suggests that evangelism should be entirely faith-dependent. Today the whole thing has become far too money-oriented. We tend to think that we can never accomplish anything without money, well we can. "Do not greet anyone on the road" probably means: don't get distracted from your task. The text talks about occasionally entering homes (where the Gospel is welcomed), but is careful to warn, "do not move around from house to house" (in the JWs manner). The first evangelists were also granted the power to "heal the sick." That is not granted today, as comments in the Book of James and other New Testament books show. Today we pray for the sick on an individual basis. The power to heal the sick, I mean all the sick in any particular scenario, was one of the signs of the Apostles.

:

Where a town or village clearly rejected the message of the Gospel, the first evangelists were told to reject that place and not to return, unlike the modern high-pressure selling evangelistic approach a la Charles Finney and others.

Hopefully those comments just about cover those verses.
Robin A. Brace. October 1st, 2011.


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