Make Disciples

 

 

 

Why do Christians desire to talk about their beliefs? Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed in the whole inhabited earth for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matt. 24:14) This is the assignment that all Christians are obligated to be a part of, to the best of their abilities, based on their gifts and talents. Jesus also said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt. 22:39) Jesus commanded that we “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them” and “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19-20) All true Christians[1] have a determination to imitate God, which moves us to persist in reflecting his glory through our sharing of the Good News with others.

Within the heart of each true Christian, is the desire that he ‘love the Lord his God with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his mind.’ (Matt. 22:37) If this is the case, we to would be patient, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.’ (2 Pet 3:9) For the true Christian, “for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45) The apostle Paul helps see the importance of the work that lies ahead,

Romans 10:14-15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14  How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how will they hear without someone to preach? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who declare good news of good things!”[2]

Many have used these two verses as the foundational texts for sending missionaries around the world for centuries. However, as was explain in the preface, these verses and others are just as important to the evangelism work that needs to be carried out by every Christian in their local community. This author believes that we should dial back sending missionaries around the world and focus on even evangelizing our own communities.

10:14a. Calling requires faith. How … can they call on the one they have not believed in? In the Old Testament, calling on the name of the Lord was a metaphor for worship and prayer (Gen. 4:26; 12:8; Ps. 116:4). No one can call out to God who has not believed in him.

10:14b. Faith requires hearing. And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? More than anything else, this question is the crux of all missiological activity since the first century. God has ordained that people have to hear (or read, or otherwise understand the content of) the word of God in order to be saved. One who knows the gospel must communicate it to one who does not know it.

10:14c. Hearing requires preaching. And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? Since no other media except the human voice was of practical value in spreading the gospel in the first century, preaching is Paul’s method of choice. And yet, in the media-rich day in which we minister, has anything replaced preaching as the most effective way to communicate the gospel? We thank God for the printed page, and even for cutting-edge presentations of the gospel circling the globe on the internet. But it is still the human voice that cracks with passion, the human eye that wells with tears of gratitude, and the human frame that shuffles to the podium, bent from a lifetime of Service to the gospel, that reaches the needy human heart most readily. Hearing may not require preaching in person today, but it always benefits from it.

10:15. Preaching requires sending. And how can they preach unless they are sent? Even when his servants were unwilling (e.g., Jonah), God has been sending the message of salvation to the ends of the earth from the beginning. Paul, a “sent one” (apostle, apostolos), was sent to the Gentiles, and he needed the church at Rome to help him. But he also wanted them to be available for God to send them. There were many, many Jews in Rome who were still stumbling over the stone in the path of salvation. How would they ever call on the name of the Lord unless someone is sent? Paul wants the church at Rome to get in step with those who have borne good news to Israel before, most specifically those who brought the good news of their deliverance from captivity in Assyria:

Original Context

“Good news” in its earliest contexts was that of victory in battle. In Isaiah it is deliverance from captivity in Assyria (cf. Isa. 52:4, 11–12), a type of the coming deliverance from sin.

Isaiah 52:7

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

Romans 10:15

And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Paul’s Application

Just as the “good news” was delivered to Israel in the Old Testament, so it still must be delivered in Paul’s day. It is a different gospel—a better one—of permanent deliverance from captivity to sin.

Six key terms, taken in reverse order, summarize God’s plan for taking the good news of the gospel to those in need: send, preach, hear, believe, call, saved.[3]

Every Christian should realize that effective communication would be one of the determining factors in whether the unbeliever will accept the truth. Some may feel that the message will get through to the unbeliever if he is receptive to the Good News regardless of communication skills. While that may be true on occasion, it is not the rule it is the exception. Moreover, it needs to be realized that our communicating skills are to be used to affect the hearts and minds of both the receptive and unreceptive. With the unreceptive, our skills must be stronger, as we are reasoning from the Scriptures, to overturn whatever has made this one unreceptive to the truth. It might be best if I were to put it this way, effective communication skills do not guarantee that one will accept the truth of God’s Word, but a lack of communication skills means that it is far less likely that they will accept the truth of God’s word.

Like a firefighter and a police officer, a Christian evangelist is on the job 24/7, as the opportunity to share a biblical message may occur at any time. Moreover, our conduct is always on display, and it is a form of witnessing to others. (1 Pet. 2:12) Whether we realize it or not we are always sending and receiving messages consciously and subconsciously with others by our tone, our demeanor, our body language, and so on. Again, our ability to communicate with clearness and precision, resolution and assurance are usually the difference between being successful and unsuccessful in our efforts to reach the hearts and minds of prospective (i.e., future) Christian disciples.

All Christians are Expected to Carry Out the Work of An Evangelist

Before delving into our book on Evangelism, let us take a moment to listen to one of the world’s leading authorities on Spiritual disciplines for our Christian life by Donald S. Whitney, who covers our obligation to evangelize very well,

Most of those reading this book will not need convincing that evangelism is expected of every Christian. All Christians are not expected to use the same methods of evangelism, but all Christians are expected to evangelize.

Before we go further, let’s define our terms. What is evangelism? If we want to define it thoroughly, we could say that evangelism is to present Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit to sinful people, in order that they may come to put their trust in God through Him, to receive Him as their Savior, and serve Him as their King in the fellowship of His Church.[4] If we want to define it simply, we could say that New Testament evangelism is communicating the gospel. Anyone who faithfully relates the essential elements of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ is evangelizing. This is true whether your words are spoken, written, or recorded, and whether they are delivered to one person or to a crowd.

Why is evangelism expected of us? The Lord Jesus Christ Himself has commanded us to witness. Consider His authority in the following:

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28: 19-20).

“He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation’” (Mark 16: 15).

“And repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24: 47).

“Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you’” (John 20: 21).

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1: 8).

These commands weren’t given to the apostles only. For example, the apostles never came to this nation. For the command of Jesus to be fulfilled and for America to hear about Christ, the gospel had to come here by other Christians. And the apostles will never come to your home, your neighborhood, or to the place where you work. For the Great Commission to be fulfilled there, for Christ to have a witness in that “remote part” of the earth, a Christian like you must discipline yourself to do it.

Some Christians believe that evangelism is a gift and the responsibility of only those with that gift. They appeal to Ephesians 4:11 for support: “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers.” While it is true that God gifts some for ministry as evangelists, He calls all believers to be His witnesses and provides them with both the power to witness and a powerful message. Every evangelist is called to be a witness, but only a few witnesses are called to the vocational ministry of an evangelist. Just as each Christian, regardless of spiritual gift or ministry, is to love others, so each believer is to evangelize whether or not his or her gift is that of an evangelist.

Think of our responsibility for personal evangelism from the perspective of 1 Peter 2:9: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.” Many Christians who are familiar with this part of the verse don’t have a clue how the rest of it goes. It goes on to say that these privileges are yours, Christian, “that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” We normally think of this verse as establishing the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. But it is equally appropriate to say that it also exhorts us to a kind of prophet hood of all believers. God expects each of us to “declare the praises” of Jesus Christ.[5]

While this author agrees with Whitney’s every word in the above, I would emphasize that we are to evangelize, so as to make disciples, which is more involved that simply sharing the Gospel. Paul summarizes the most basic elements of the gospel message, that is, the death, burial, resurrection, and appearances of the resurrected Christ. (1 Cor. 18:1-8) Therefore, the Gospel explained in detail or simply stated as Paul has put it, will not be enough to convert many unbelievers to the faith. Therefore, it is best to understand our responsibility as evangelist, in the sense of being able to proclaim or explain our Christian teachings both offensively and defensively: to (1) defend God’s Word, (2) defend the faith, (3) pull some who doubt back from the fire, and (4) most importantly, to help the lost find salvation.

All Christians are to be Evangelizers

We live in a world today where Genesis 6:5 and 8:21 is magnified a thousand fold. Certainly, most normal humans, who do not suffer from any sort of mental distresses, want to do good to others and live a peaceful life. Why then has there been so much evil in human history, and why is there so much evil today? We will have to turn to the words of our Creator for the answers.

Mentally Bent Toward Evil

Psalm 51:5 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,[6]
and in sin did my mother conceive me.

King David had his adultery with Bathsheba and the subsequent murder of her husband exposed, for which he accepted full responsibility. His words about the human condition give us one reason for the evil of man. He says, “I was brought forth in iniquity.” What is iniquity? The Hebrew word awon essentially relates to erring, acting illegally or wrongly.

David stated that his problem was a corrupt heart, saying; surely, I was sinful at birth. He entered this world a sinner in nature long before he became a sinner in actions. In fact, this internal corruption predated his birth, actually beginning nine months earlier when he was conceived in the womb. It was at conception that the Adamic sin nature was transmitted to him. The problem of what he did, sin, arose from what he was, a sinner.[7]

David is not here casting the blame onto his mother, as God never intended mothers to conceive and give birth children who would sin. Nevertheless, when Adam and Eve rebelled, were expelled from the Garden of Eden, they lost their ability to pass on perfection. Therefore, every child was born missing the mark of perfection. The Hebrew term translated “sin” is chattath; in Greek, the word is hamartia. Both carry the meaning of missing the mark of perfection.

The verbal forms occur in enough secular contexts to provide a basic picture of the word’s meaning. In Judges 20:16 the left-handed slingers of Benjamin are said to have the skill to throw stones at targets and “not miss.” In a different context, Pro. 19:2 speaks of a man in a hurry who “misses his way” (RSV, NEB, KJV has “sinneth”). A similar idea of not finding a goal appears in Pro. 8:36; the concept of failure is implied.[8]

Genesis 6:5 The American Translation (AT)

5 When the LORD saw that the wickedness of man on the earth was great, and that the whole bent of his thinking was never anything but evil, the LORD regretted that he had ever made man on the earth.

Genesis 8:21 The American Translation (AT)

21 I will never again curse the soil, though the bent of man’s mind may be evil from his very youth; nor ever again will I ever again destroy all life creature as I have just done.

THE CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST

All of us have inherited a sinful nature, meaning that we are currently unable to live up to the mark of perfection, in which we were created. In fact, Genesis 6:5 says we all suffer from, ‘our whole bent of thinking, which is nothing but evil.” Genesis 8:21 says that ‘our mind is evil from our very youth.’ Jeremiah 17:9 says that our hearts are treacherous and desperately sick.” What does all of this mean? It means that before the fall, our natural inclination; our natural leaning was toward good. However, after the fall, our natural inclination, our natural leaning was toward bad, wicked, evil.

We should never lose sight of the fact that unrighteous desires of the flesh are not to be taken lightly. (Rom. 7:19, 20) Nevertheless, if it is our desire to have a righteous relationship before God, it will be the stronger desire. Psalm 119:165 says, “Abundant peace belongs to those who love Your instruction; nothing makes them stumble.” We need to cultivate our love for doing right, which will strengthen our conscience, the sense of what is right and wrong that governs somebody’s thoughts and actions, urging us to do right rather than wrong. It is only through studying the Bible that we can train the conscience. Once it is trained, it will prick us like a needle in the arm, when we are thinking of doing something wrong. It will feel like a pain in our heart, a sadness, nervousness, which is the voice saying, ‘do not do this.’ Moreover, if we ignore our voice, it will grow silent over time and will stop telling us what is wrong. (Romans 2:14-15)

James 1:14-15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own desire.[9] 15 Then the desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

We have a natural desire toward wrong, and Satan is the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:3-4), and he caters to the fallen flesh. James also tells us “each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully grown, brings forth death.” (James 1:14-15, ESV) We resist the devil by immediately dismissing any thought that is contrary to God’s values found in his Word, which enters our mind, we do not entertain it for a moment, nor do we cultivate it, causing it to grow. We then offer rational prayers in our head, or better yet, aloud so we can defeat fleshly irrational thinking with rational biblical thinking. The Apostle Peter, referring to the Devil wrote, “Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” (1 Peter 5:9)

Matthew 24:14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the inhabited earth[10] as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

With much of what people see today, one wonders what the Goods News could be.

Isaiah 52:7-8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
who proclaims  salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God has become king!”[11]
Listen! your watchmen lift up their voices;
together they sing for joy;
for eye to eye they see
when Jehovah returns to Zion.

In the days of Isaiah, no individual was identified as “him who brings good news.” However, we know, in the first century C.E., Jesus was identified as the bearer of good news, the prince of peace, the king of God’s Kingdom. During Jesus’ three and a half year ministry, he proclaimed the good news about his giving “his soul as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28), releasing any who has faith in him from all the effects of inherited sin from Adam, including sickness and death. (Matt. 9:35) Jesus gave us a perfect zealous example of proclaiming the good news at every opportunity, to teach about the kingdom of God, so as to make disciples. (Matt. 5:1-2; Mark 6:34; Luke 19:1-10; John 4:5-26) Thereafter, his disciples would follow his example and in a greater sense (John 14:12-14), they would ‘bring good news’ “in all the inhabited earth[12] as a testimony to all the nation.” (Matthew 24:14)

In his letter to the congregation in Rome, the apostle Paul quotes Isaiah 52:7, which served to emphasize the important work of proclaiming the good news. Beginning in verse 14, Paul asks several important questions, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how will they hear without someone to preach? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?” (Rom. 10.14-15) We should note that Paul under inspiration, expanded upon Isaiah’s words, going from a singular “him” or “one” who brings good news, to a plural “those who declare good news of good things!” Emulating Jesus Christ, all Christians today are proclaimers of the good news of the kingdom. What is meant by the words “how beautiful are the feet”? Isaiah was speaking as though the proclaimer of good news was approaching Jerusalem from the neighboring mountains of Judah. Thus, literally, it would have been impossible to see the feet of the messenger. Rather, the focus is on the one bringing the good news, the feet that bring him are pictorial of the messenger himself. In the oppressive years of the early first-century, we can only picture the beautiful sight of Jesus and his disciples as they traveled throughout Palestine. The same is true today as Christian proclaimers bring million the good news of the kingdom throughout the world.

Nahum 1:15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

15 Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him
who brings good news,
who publishes peace!
Keep your feasts, O Judah;
fulfill your vows,
for never again shall the worthless[13] pass through you;
he is cut off completely.

Judah had thus long suffered under the heavy hand of Assyria. Therefore, Nahum’s prophecy regarding Nineveh’s looming destruction was indeed good news. Assyria would never again interfere in the lives of God’s people. Nothing would get in the way of the Judeans from carrying out pure worship and celebrating the festivals. This liberation from the Assyrian persecutor would be complete. (Nah. 1:9) Some 688 years later, the apostle Paul at Romans 10:15 apply the expression from Isaiah 52:7 and Nahum 1:15 to those whom the Father sends forth as Christian proclaimers of the good news. These ones are to proclaim the “good news of the kingdom.” (Matthew 24:14)

Romans 10:15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who declare good news of good things!”[14]

CONVERSATION EVANGELISM

Christianity today, has sadly, fallen away from the evangelism that they had been assigned, the preaching and teaching of the good news, the making of disciples. (Matt. 24:14; 28:19-20; Ac 1:8) The first-century Christians were very zealous when it came to sharing the good news and biblical truths with others. In fact, the new believers were taught the basics of the faith, before they were baptized. Once they were baptized, they were immediately involved in spreading these same biblical truths to others. This is why just seventy years after the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ; there were more than a million Christians spread all throughout the then known world of the Roman Empire. Christians today, should have this same zeal because Jesus gave only one command that was to be carried out after his departure, the making of disciples.

The good news is that this current evil age that we live in is not all that we have to look forward to, as all have the opportunity of gaining eternal life. Yes, the path of salvation is open to all. Therefore, Christians today should be in the work of being used by God to help as many as possible to find the path of salvation, before Christ’s second coming.

John 3:16 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone trusting in him will not be destroyed but have eternal life.

John 3:36 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

36 The one trusting in the Son has eternal life, but the one who disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

A Grammar of New Testament Greek series, by James Moulton, says, “The importance of the difference between mere belief … and personal trust.”[15] Both these senses can be conveyed using the Greek word pisteuo. The context helps us to identify the different senses of the meaning of pisteuo. Then again, we also have the different grammatical constructions that also convey what the Bible author had meant by his use of the word. When pisteuo is simply followed by a noun in the dative case, it is merely rendered as “believe,” such as the chief priest and elders response to Jesus at Matthew 21:25, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ However, in Romans 4:3 we have pisteuo follow by a noun in the dative in the Updated American Standard Version, yet it is rendered “For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham put faith in God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” (The ASV, RSV, ESV, NASB and others have “Abraham believed God”)

If pisteuo is followed by the Greek preposition epi, “on,” it can be rendered “believe in” or believe on.” At Matthew 27:42, it reads, “we will believe in him [i.e., Jesus].” At Acts 16:31, it reads “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved …” (KJV, UASV similarly) What is the difference between “believing in Jesus” and “believing on Jesus”? Believing in Jesus is a merely acknowledging that he exists while believing on Jesus is to accept absolutely, having no doubt or uncertainty, trusting in, putting faith in or trust in, exercising faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

If pisteuo is followed by the Greek preposition eis, (“into, in, among,” accusative case), it is generally rendered “trusting in” or “trust in.” (John 3:16, 36; 12:36; 14:1) The grammatical construction of the Greek verb pisteuo “believe” followed by the Greek preposition eis “into” in the accusative gives us the sense of having faith into Jesus, putting faith in, trusting in Jesus.

Revelation 21:3-4 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and he will dwell[16] among them, and they shall be his people,[17] and God himself will be among them,[18] and he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

In the O[ld] T[estament] the kingdom of God is usually described in terms of a redeemed earth; this is especially clear in the book of Isaiah, where the final state of the universe is already called new heavens and a new earth (65:17; 66:22) The nature of this renewal was perceived only very dimly by OT authors, but they did express the belief that a humans ultimate destiny is an earthly one.[19] This vision is clarified in the N[ew] T[estament]. Jesus speaks of the “renewal” of the world (Matt 19:28), Peter of the restoration of all things (Acts 3:21). Paul writes that the universe will be redeemed by God from its current state of bondage (Rom. 8:18-21). This is confirmed by Peter, who describes the new heavens and the new earth as the Christian’s hope (2 Pet. 3:13). Finally, the book of Revelation includes a glorious vision of the end of the present universe and the creation of a new universe, full of righteousness and the presence of God. The vision is confirmed by God in the awesome declaration: “I am making everything new!” (Rev. 21:1-8)

The new heavens and the new earth will be the renewed creation that will fulfill the purpose for which God created the universe. It will be characterized by the complete rule of God and by the full realization of the final goal of redemption: “Now the dwelling of God is with men” (Rev. 21:3).

The fact that the universe will be created anew[20] shows that God’s goals for humans is not an ethereal and disembodied existence, but a bodily existence on a perfected earth. The scene of the beatific vision is the new earth. The spiritual does not exclude the created order and will be fully realized only within a perfected creation. (Elwell 2001, 828-29)

Jesus Set the Example As to Proclaiming the Kingdom Good News

Christians today should be seeking to walk in the steps of their exemplar, Jesus Christ. Yes, we have been called, so that we might follow in Jesus’ steps.

1 Peter 2:21 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his footsteps,

In imitation of Jesus Christ, we should be willing to suffer the greatest difficulties if need be, even to the point of death, in order to uphold the sovereignty of God as we take every opportunity proclaim good news.

Luke 4:16-21 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll[21] of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. And he unrolled the scroll[22] and found the place where it was written,

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news[23] to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set free those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”

20 And he rolled up the scroll[24] and gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

A survey of the Gospels indicates that Jesus’ publishing program—via his traveling throughout Galilee and Judea and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom—was extensive and effective. Thousands and thousands of people heard the word from Jesus himself. In ancient times, the method of oral publication was far more effective than written publication. Books were expensive to make, and many people did not read. Most relied on oral proclamation and aural reception to receive messages. Indeed, most education was based upon oral delivery and aural reception/memorization to transmit texts. Thus, Jesus taught his disciples orally, and they committed his teachings to memory. When it came time, several years later, for the disciples to put these teachings into writing, they were aided by the Holy Spirit, who would remind the disciples of all that Jesus had taught them (John 14:26). Jesus’ disciples, commissioned by him, continued the same publishing work after Jesus’ death and resurrection. This publishing is known as the kerygma (Greek for “proclamation”). The word kerygma is taken straight from a well-known practice in ancient times. A king publicized his decrees throughout his empire by means of a kerux (a town crier or herald). This person, who often served as a close confidant of the king, would travel throughout the realm, announcing to the people whatever the king wished to make known. In English, we known him as a herald. Each New Testament disciple considered himself or herself to be like the kerux—a herald and publisher of the Good News.[25]

THE EVANGELISM HANDBOOK

Yes, Jesus was an evangelizer, and he trained hundreds of evangelizers throughout his three and half years of ministry. “He went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom.” (Matthew 4:23) Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38, therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matt. 9:37-38) The apostles set up Christian congregations, with every Christian following the footsteps of Christ, to be an evangelizer.

While there is nothing, wrong with helping our neighbor deal with the social ills of the world, or taking some time to support a political candidate that we hope will implement laws that will allow for the greater work of evangelizing. Yes, Christianity has become a social institution, working night and day to save the world of humankind that is alienated from God, which has diverted them from the lifesaving work of being an evangelist. In the days of the Cold War between the United State and the former Soviet Union, a citizen of the United States would consider it treason if another citizen spent time promoting communism from the former Soviet Bloc. While we are citizens of this world, and of the country that we live in, our true Kingdom is the Kingdom of God in the person of Jesus Christ. Below we will quote the Holman Illustrate Bible Dictionary at length, to understand and appreciate what the Kingdom of God is.

The Kingdom of God

In the NT the fullest revelation of God’s divine rule is in the person of Jesus Christ. His birth was heralded as the birth of a king (Luke 1:32–33). The ministry of John the Baptist prepared for the coming of God’s kingdom (Matt. 3:2). The crucifixion was perceived as the death of a king (Mark 15:26–32).

Jesus preached that God’s kingdom was at hand (Matt. 11:12). His miracles, preaching, forgiving sins, and resurrection are an in-breaking of God’s sovereign rule in this dark, evil age.

God’s kingdom was manifested in the church. Jesus commissioned the making of disciples on the basis of His kingly authority (Matt. 28:18–20). Peter’s sermon at Pentecost underscored that a descendent of David would occupy David’s throne forever, a promise fulfilled in the resurrection of Christ (Acts 2:30–32). Believers are transferred from the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of the Son of God (Col. 1:13).

God’s kingdom may be understood in terms of “reign” or “realm.” Reign conveys the fact that God exerts His divine authority over His subjects/kingdom. Realm suggests location, and God’s realm is universal. God’s reign extends over all things. He is universally sovereign over the nations, humankind, the angels, the dominion of darkness and its inhabitants, and even the cosmos, individual believers, and the church.

In the OT the kingdom of God encompasses the past, present, and future. The kingdom of God had implications in the theocratic state. The kingdom of God is “already” present but “not yet” fully completed, both a present and future reality. The kingdom was inaugurated in the incarnation, life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus. God’s kingdom blessings are in some measure possessed now. People presently find and enter God’s kingdom. God is now manifesting His authoritative rule in the lives of His people. God’s kingdom, however, awaits its complete realization. His people still endure sufferings and tribulations. When fully consummated, hardships will cease. Kingdom citizens currently dwell alongside inhabitants of the kingdom of darkness. God will eventually dispel all darkness. The final inheritance of the citizens of God’s kingdom is yet to be fully realized. The resurrection body for life in the eschatological kingdom is a blessing awaiting culmination.

God’s kingdom is soteriological in nature, expressed in the redemption of fallen persons. The reign of Christ instituted the destruction of all evil powers hostile to the will of God. Satan, the “god of this age,” along with his demonic horde, seeks to hold the hearts of people captive in darkness. Christ has defeated Satan and the powers of darkness and delivers believers. Although Satan still is active in this present darkness, his ultimate conquest and destruction are assured through Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection. Sinners enter Christ’s kingdom through regeneration.

Many of Jesus’ parables emphasize the mysterious nature of God’s kingdom. For example, an insignificant mustard seed will grow a tree, as God’s kingdom will grow far beyond its inception (Matt. 13:31–32). The kingdom of God is like seed scattered on the ground. Some seed will fall on good soil, take root, and grow. Other seed, however, will fall on hard, rocky ground and will not grow. Likewise, the kingdom will take root in the hearts of some but will be rejected and unfruitful in others (Matt. 13:3–8). As wheat and tares grow side by side, indistinguishable from each other, so also the sons of the kingdom of God and the sons of the kingdom of darkness grow together in the world until ultimately separated by God (Matt. 13:24–30, 36–43).

Although closely related, the kingdom and the church are distinct. George Eldon Ladd identified four elements in the relationship of the kingdom of God to the church. The kingdom of God creates the church. God’s redemptive rule is manifested over and through the church. The church is a “custodian” of the kingdom. The church also witnesses to God’s divine rule.

The kingdom of God is the work of God, not produced by human ingenuity. God brought it into the world through Jesus Christ, and it presently works through the church. The church preaches the kingdom of God and anticipates the eventual consummation.[26]

YOUR GUIDE FOR DEFENDING THE BIBLE_Third Edition

The last sentence of our quote says in part, “the church preaches the kingdom of God.” This has not been the case for almost 2,000 years. Today, the church preaches from the pulpit to those that are already Christian, as well as those, who happen into the church. Let us take another look at our key verses,

Romans 10:13-17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

13 For “everyone who calls on [through worship and prayer] the name of the Lord[27] will be saved.””

14  How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how will they hear without someone to preach? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who declare good news of good things!”[28]

16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord,[29] who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

14. Paul now launches into a series of rhetorical questions. The first is How, then, can they call54 on the one they have not believed in? Paul does not define his they. Obviously this is a term with wide application and may be seen as equivalent to “all people”. But the apostle may have the Jews especially in view. Throughout these chapters he is discussing the plight of his own nation, and they will be prominently in mind, whatever other application we may fairly discern. Paul advances to And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? It is possible to cavil at NIV’s rendering of whom they have not heard, a rendering shared by several recent translations. But NASB has it right with “How shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard?” The point is that Christ is present in the preachers; to hear them is to hear him (cf. Luke 10:16), and people ought to believe when they hear him. Paul’s third question is And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? It is important to see the impossibility of hearing without someone preaching. “Hearing” is a reflection of first-century life. Paul does not raise the possibility of the message being read. While there were people who could read, the ordinary first-century citizen depended rather on being able to hear something. If the message of God was going to be effective in biblical times, it had to be heard. And for this a preacher was needed.[30]

Again, missionaries have been sent out throughout the last few centuries, but this is not the first-century way, it is the way of the last few centuries. However, over the last few decades, many trained in missions have come to realize the error of their ways. They have tried to grow the church by going outside of their community, to grow it back to their community. This was mistake number one. The other alternative was to grow from your community out to the rest of the world. Their second mistake was to use just a select few (missionaries), believing they were going to get the Great Commission accomplished. Of late, we hear much about having missionary churches that evangelize their own community, with their own members. While this belief is best and correct, I am unaware of any that are doing it as it should be done, and most are not doing it at all.

While modern technology is great, but there is but one-way to reach “the whole world as a testimony to all nations” (Matt. 24:14). Yes, it is the human voice, but not as the Holman Commentary suggests with one man walking to a podium to preach, but for hundreds of millions to take to their communities, trained to preach (herald, proclaim) the message, and to teach what they had been taught “to one who does not know it.”

First-Century Christians Evangelized

[Jesus] reminded them in John 20:20 of his crucifixion: “He showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.” Then he reminded them again about his peace in verse 21. Jesus said, “Peace be with you!” Jesus proclaimed peace, reminded them of his crucifixion, pronounced peace again, and then told them, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (John 20: 21). With that one command, Jesus announced two thousand years of direction for the church, still in effect for the churches of today, even your church. He proclaimed that we are sent. The church is, and you are individually, God’s missionary to the world. Your church is God’s instrument to reach the world, and it includes reaching your community. We are sent on mission by God. We are to be a missions-centered church by calling, nature, and choice. We are called to be on mission in our community. We have been sent to be on mission in our context, and we must accept that call, that directive to be on mission where God has placed us, not five, not fifty, not five hundred years ago and not thirty miles away, not three hundred miles away, not three thousand miles away. We are exhorted to be on mission where God has placed us now, and our job is to [evangelize] wherever we are.[31]

Yes, the Great Commission was an assignment given to all Christians, which starts right in your own backyard. You can effectively evangelize the world, if you do it one community at a time, starting with your community.

Matthew 28:19-20 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, … teaching them … I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

In the Greek, the words for “all nations” are panta ta ethnē. We get our English word ethnic from the Greek word ethnē. When we hear (or read) Jesus’ command to “go to all nations,” we think countries. But when Jesus spoke those words, there were no countries as we understand them today. The nation-state is an invention of the modern era. In Jesus’ day there were groups of people, and there were empires. Jesus’ instructions mean that we must go to all the people groups in the world. The Jewish disciples of that day knew that Jesus was speaking about the Gentiles. The gospel was to go beyond the Jewish nation. But they also thought of Phoenicians, Macedonians, Greeks, Romans, and others Jesus did not use the word for empires like the Roman Empire, the Persian, or the Greek. Jesus used the word for peoples, and the Jews knew this meant all the different kinds of Gentiles. It meant to go to all the different kinds of people that existed. This is still God’s plan today. In today’s world, we have to remember that we are still sent … to all different kinds of peoples. The word peoples represents every ethno-linguistic people group around the world, all the different ethnicities present in our cities, and even the different generations that live in our communities.[32]

Who all were involved in the evangelism work of the first-century? The evidence is all too clear that all Christians were evangelizing their communities, with a select few, taking the message everywhere.

 Acts 1:14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14 All these with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

Acts 2:1, 4 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

When the day of Pentecost was being fulfilled, they were all together in one place. And they were all [men and women] filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues,[33] as the Spirit was giving them utterance.[34]

2:4. A third physical phenomenon experienced on the Day of Pentecost was the use of different languages. Throughout Acts, Luke uses different verbs to describe the coming of the Spirit upon new believers. This first time was a unique event, never again repeated in exactly the same way. When we look at the entire New Testament teaching on the Holy Spirit, we see the word baptism associated with initial conversion and the word filling with ministry. The first seems to happen once without repetition; the second occurs with frequency as believers allow God’s Spirit to produce powerful work through them.

Most evangelical scholars believe the tongues of Pentecost were genuine languages, not the ecstatic sounds Paul dealt with at Corinth (1 Cor. 14:1–12). Two arguments rise strongly to emphasize that these tongues represented languages not previously learned. First, the use of the word dialektos in verses 6 and 8 can only refer to a language or dialect. Second, the paragraph that follows (vv. 5–12) specifically emphasizes the fact that people of different languages understood the message of the Christians in their own language.

Some argue for a miracle of hearing as well as speaking in this chapter. The text does not really justify that. On the other hand, when people filled with the Holy Spirit proclaim the gospel, a supernatural ministry always takes place. When the hearers respond, a miracle of understanding certainly follows.[35]

Acts 2:17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

17 “‘And it shall be in the last days, God says,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,*
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams; (See Joel 2:28-29)

* The Greek behind the word “prophecy” here does not carry the meaning of “prediction,” or “foretelling,” (Gr., propheteuo), but literally means “a speaker out [Gr., pro, “before” or “in front of,” and phemi, “say”]” and thus describes a proclaimer, one who proclaims messages of God. That is, namely “to proclaim an inspired revelation, prophesyActs 2:17f; John 3:1; 19:6; 21:9; 1 Cor, 11:4f …; 13:9; 14:1, 3–5, 24, 31, 39; Rev. 11:3[36]

Matthew 24:14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the inhabited earth[37] as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

Acts 1:8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in both Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the extremity of the earth.”

The prophecy of Jesus that the Good News would be “proclaimed throughout the [then known] whole world to all the nations [peoples], and then the end will come,” was applicable to them, and was carried out. The “nations” (Gr., ethnē), means the same as it does at Matthew 28:19, where we are commanded to “make disciples of all nations.” The first-century Christians made disciples of all nations (the peoples), in all of the then known world,[38] before the end came for the natural nation of Israel, as the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 C.E.,[39] killing over a million Jews, and taking hundreds of thousands captive. The apostle Paul wrote the Christians in Colossae about ten years earlier, 60 C.E, commenting on the spread of Christianity

Colossians 1:23 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

About 60-61 C.E., the apostle Paul wrote that the good news was “proclaimed in all creation under heaven.” (Col. 1:23) Did Paul mean that the good news had already reached faraway places like India, the Far East, Africa, Spain, Gaul, Britain, the Baltics, and Thule? While this does not seem likely, we should not speculate one way or the other. The point that Paul was making that the good news had been spread through the then known world as far as the readers knew, and regardless of the exact specifics, we know it was extensive. The good news had been spread as far as Parthia, Elam, Media, Mesopotamia, Arabia, Asia Minor, the parts of Libya toward Cyrene, and Rome.

First-Century Christian Worship and the Truth

The early Christians met in congregations, which for many of them, were private homes, to take in the truth. (Rom. 16:3-5) The book of Hebrews tells us some of what took place at these meetings. They were there, in part, to “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Heb. 10:24-25) Tertullian of the late second, early third century (c.155–after 220 C.E.), wrote, “We meet to read the books of God … In any case, with those holy words we feed our faith, we lift up our hope, we confirm our confidence.”[40] In order to become a Christian, certain requirements had to be met, as we can see from the Zondervan Handbook to the History of Christianity,

As before, people who converted to Christianity were baptized. First, however, the new believer would be properly instructed in the beliefs and practices of Christianity. These ‘beginner’ Christians were the ‘catechumens’ (from the Greek meaning ‘oral handing down’, that is, teaching by word of mouth) and the way in which they were instructed developed as time went on. In the First apology, published in the middle of the second century, the Christian writer Justin Martyr (c. 100-165) gives us a valuable insight into how people were admitted into the church in Rome:[41]

As many as are persuaded and believe that what we teach and say is true, and undertake to be able to live accordingly, are instructed to pray and to entreat God with fasting, for the remission of their sins that are past, we praying and fasting with them. Then they are brought by us where there is water, and are regenerated in the same manner in which we were ourselves regenerated. For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water.[42]

Thus, there were clear requirements before someone could be baptized: the education of basic doctrinal beliefs, praying, fasting, and a commitment to live a moral life and an understanding of Christian beliefs. These new believers were discovered by taking the message into the community. Then, they were taught to become a disciple of Jesus Christ. They were then organized into Christian congregations. These same disciples (learners) were trained to make more disciples, in the same way, preaching the Good News, and sharing the basic doctrinal beliefs.

Acts 5:42 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

41 So they went out from before the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. 42 And every day in the temple and from house to house they kept right on teaching and proclaiming the good news that the Christ was Jesus.

5:41–42 The apostles were not persuaded. They would continue to obey God rather than men. In fact, they rejoiced at having suffered for the name, very much in accord with the beatitude of their Lord (Luke 6:22f.). And the witness to the name continued—publicly in the temple and privately in the homes of the Christians. Luke seems to have used a common Greek rhetorical construction in v. 42 called a chiasm, which is most easily pictured as an A-B-B-A pattern. In the temple (A) and in homes (B), the apostles taught (B) and preached the gospel (A). Teaching was the task within the Christian fellowship, preaching the public task in the temple grounds. If there is any significance to his using such a device, it would be to give emphasis to the beginning and concluding elements. Their witness, their preaching of the gospel, was their primary task and occupation.[43]

Acts 14:21-23 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

21 After they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to remain in the faith, and saying, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” 23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every congregation,[44] with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

14:21a. Journeying sixty miles southeast, Paul and Barnabas reached Derbe, preached the gospel there, and won a large number of disciples. Wait a minute! Were there no believers left behind at Lystra? Not yet. That awaits a future visit. Why would Luke so hurriedly mention ministry in a town where the results were so obviously significant? Probably because he knows he will revisit this town in his accounts of the second and third journeys and give it more press at that time.

Longenecker suggests Luke is simply a man of his times, more interested in the larger cities, the central target of most of the missionary activity in Acts. He does offer a suggestion of importance for Lystra and Derbe, however, and an applicational note worth reproducing here:

Probably the larger and more influential churches were in Antioch and Iconium as well, though the congregations in the smaller and more rural towns seem to have contributed more young men as candidates for the missionary endeavor (e.g., Timothy from Lystra—16:1–3; Gaius from Derbe 20:4)—a pattern not all together different from today, where the larger churches often capture the headlines and the smaller congregations provide much of the personnel (Longenecker, 438).

14:21b–22. In Derbe the missionaries could very well have headed southeast 150 miles to Tarsus and then easily returned to Syrian Antioch, but it was not yet time to go home. The churches of southern Galatia needed encouragement in their time of suffering, so they returned to the cities where they knew opposition awaited in order to tell the Christians, We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God. These churches of southern Galatia were the likely recipients of the epistle to the Galatians written between the end of the first journey and the Jerusalem Council. When we read Galatians, therefore, we might think about these believers and remember how they came to Christ, enduring opposition from both Jews and Gentiles in the earliest days of their faith.

We wonder why Luke doesn’t tell us about renewed opposition in these three cities which had treated the missionaries so badly. Perhaps we should conclude that on the return trip they confined their ministry exclusively to small groups of believers and therefore did not offend synagogue leaders or influential people in either Gentile or Jewish communities of those cities.

Let’s not try to find a theology of suffering in the latter part of verse 22. Some popular religions today argue that people must find salvation through suffering. I have watched faithful followers of Catholicism plod forward on bleeding knees at the shrine of Lourdes in Portugal. I have seen flagalantes beat their backs bloody in the Philippines to earn favor with God. No, salvation does not come through suffering, nor were the missionaries talking here about salvation since their encouragement came to people already in the family of God. Rather, they reflected the word of the Lord Jesus about sharing his sufferings along the way to heaven (Rom. 8:17; Phil. 3:10–11; Col. 1:24).

14:23. The appointing of elders to new congregations affords sufficient consequence to give further space to it in “Deeper Discoveries.” Here we notice only that a different word appears, cheirotonesantes, rather than the usual presbyteroi or episkopoi, the latter two used interchangeably in the New Testament. The niv offers two marginal notes as options to the main text: “Barnabas ordained elders,” or “Barnabas had elders elected.” We should recognize the nature of these fledging churches. The manner of selecting leadership in established congregations like Jerusalem (Acts 6) would of necessity have been a very different process than that used with church planting efforts in the Gentile world of Asia Minor.[45]

Acts 20:20 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house,

20:20 A second characteristic of Paul’s ministry was the openness of his proclamation (v. 20). He kept no secrets, held nothing back. Whatever was true to the gospel and helpful to the faithful, he preached both publicly and from house to house. Mention of public proclamation recalls Paul’s days in the synagogue of Ephesus and the lecture hall of Tyrannus (19:8f.). The reference to houses most likely is to the house-church meetings of the Ephesian Christians. In contrast, some were not so open in their witness, i.e., false teachers who advocated hidden and secret doctrines. Paul warned the Ephesian leaders later in his speech that such would arise to plague their own church (v. 29f.). He reminded them of the honesty and openness of his own preaching. When one was faithful to the truth, there was nothing to hide.[46]

Review Questions

  • Why do Christians desire to talk about their beliefs?
  • Every Christian should realize what about effective ”
  • What similarity is there between the police/firefighters and Christian evangelists?
  • In short, explain why all Christians are obligated to evangelize.
  • What is the kingdom of God?
  • Who has carried the bulk of the evangelizing work for centuries, and why is it necessary to refocus our attention on churches and communities?
  • Explain how the first-century Christian evangelized and what they accomplished.
  • In the early church, what was a prospective disciple to go through before he or she could be a baptized member?

[1] As of the early 21st century, Christianity has around 2.2 billion adherents, out of about 7 billion people. Of these 2.2 billion, there are true Christians and there are false Christians. We are going to use one doctrine herein (inerrancy of Scripture), in establishing who is a true Christian, as opposed to who is a false Christian. You are not a true Christian if you do not accept full inerrancy of Scripture. This means that a true Christian would agree with the entire short statement below.

  1. God, who is Himself Truth and speaks truth only, has inspired Holy Scripture in order thereby to reveal Himself to lost mankind through Jesus Christ as Creator and Lord, Redeemer and Judge. Holy Scripture is God’s witness to Himself.
  2. Holy Scripture, being God’s own Word, written by men prepared and superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches: it is to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it affirms, obeyed, as God’s command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God’s pledge, in all that it promises.
  3. The Holy Spirit, Scripture’s divine Author, both authenticates it to us by His inward witness and opens our minds to understand its meaning.
  4. Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God’s acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God’s saving grace in individual lives.
  5. The authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired if this total divine inerrancy is in any way limited or disregarded, or made relative to a view of truth contrary to the Bible’s own; and such lapses bring serious loss to both the individual and the Church.―http://bible-translation.net/page/chicago-statement-on-biblical-inerrancy-icbi

[2] Quotation from Isa 52:7; Nah 1:15

[3] Kenneth Boa and William Kruidenier, Romans, vol. 6, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 314–315.

[4] See J. I. Packer, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1979), pages 37-57.

[5] Whitney, Donald S. (2012-01-05). Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life with Bonus Content (Pilgrimage Growth Guide) (p. 100-101). Navpress.

[6] Iniquity “signifies an offense, intentional or not, against God’s law.” (VCEDONTW, Volume 1, Page 122) Really, anything not in harmony with God’s personality, standards, ways, and will, which mars one’s relationship with God.

[7] Anders, Max; Lawson, Steven (2004-01-01). Holman Old Testament Commentary – Psalms: 11 (p. 266). B&H Publishing. Kindle Edition.

[8] G. Herbert Livingston, “638 חָטָא,” ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 277.

[9] Or “own lust

[10] Or in the whole world

[11] Or “Your God Reigns!”

[12] Or in the whole world

[13] Or wicked

[14] Quotation from Isa 52:7; Nah 1:15

[15] James Moulton, A Grammar of New Testament Greek, Vol. 1: Prolegomena (London, England: T & T Clark International, 2006), 68.

[16] Lit he will tabernacle

[17] Some mss peoples

[18] One early ms and be their God

[19] It is unwise to speak of the written Word of God as if it were of human origin, saying ‘OT authors express the belief,’ when what was written is the meaning and message of what God wanted to convey by means of the human author.

[20] Create anew does not mean a complete destruction followed by a re-creation, but instead a renewal of the present universe.

[21] Or a roll

[22] Or roll

[23] Or the gospel

[24] Or roll

[25] Philip Comfort, Encountering the Manuscripts: An Introduction to New Testament Paleography & Textual Criticism (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2005), 2.

[26] Stan Norman with Gentry Peter, “Kingdom of God,” ed. Chad Brand, Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 988–989.

[27] Quotation from Joel 2:32, which reads, “everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah shall be saved.” In other words, Paul was referring to the Father not the Son.

[28] Quotation from Isa 52:7; Nah 1:15

[29] Quotation from Isaiah 53:1, which reads, “Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of Jehovah been revealed?”

[30] Leon Morris, The Epistle to the Romans, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press, 1988), 389–390.

[31] Putman, David; Ed Stetzer (2006-05-01). Breaking the Missional Code: Your Church Can Become a Missionary in Your Community (pp. 30-31). B&H Publishing. Kindle Edition.

[32] Putman, David; Ed Stetzer (2006-05-01). Breaking the Missional Code: Your Church Can Become a Missionary in Your Community (p. 34). B&H Publishing. Kindle Edition

[33] Or languages

[34] Or enable them to speak

[35] Kenneth O. Gangel, Acts, vol. 5, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 25–26.

[36] William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 890.

[37] Or in the whole world

[38] Christianity had spread from Jerusalem to Rome, Macedonia, Greece, Asia, Bithynia, Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Pamphylia, Syria, Cyprus, Crete, Babylon, Persian Gulf, Spain, Italy, Malta, Illyricum, Media, Parthia, Elam Arabia, Cyrene, Libya, Egypt, and Ethiopia.

[39] Dates of events before the Common Era (Also known as AD) are marked by the abbreviation B.C.E. Dates of events during the Common Era are marked by the abbreviation C.E.

[40] Thomas C. Oden, Ministry Through Word and Sacrament, Classic Pastoral Care, 59 (New York: Crossroad, 1989).

[41] Jonathan Hill, Zondervan Handbook to the History of Christianity, 46 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006).

[42] Justin Martyr, “The First Apology of Justin”, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume I: The Apostolic Fathers With Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson and A. Cleveland Coxe, 183 (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1885).

[43] John B. Polhill, Acts, vol. 26, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 174.

[44] Congregation: (Heb. qahal; Gr. ekklesia) A congregation of Christians. A group of Christians, who gather for a Christian meeting, implying an interacting membership. In the Hebrew Scriptures, it usually refers to the nation of Israel, i.e., “the assembly of Israel” or “the congregation of Israel.” In the Greek New Testament, it refers to congregations of Christians, as well as the Christian congregation as a whole.–Nu 20:8; De 4:10; 1 Ki 8:22; Ac 9:31; Rom. 16:5; 1 Cor. 14:4.

[45] Kenneth O. Gangel, Acts, vol. 5, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 235–236.

[46] John B. Polhill, Acts, vol. 26, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 424.