For Bible Study up at Mayer Community Church, we’re discussing Mark Dever’s helpful book, What Is A Healthy Church? The chapters for this evening are focused on the gospel and conversion. While re-reading his chapters, and considering ways to encourage evangelism by the members at MCC, I began to review the wide variety of evangelistic approaches used by the apostles. The apostles felt an incredible amount of freedom in sharing the content of their faith. They viewed almost every type of discussion or activity as a means of proclaiming Christ. Their evangelistic approach was deeply personal and highly informed.
At the same time, I began to consider the relatively anemic form of evangelism that I have encountered at many churches. Abut two weeks ago, a pastor gave me a tract and said to me, “This tract is great, because you don’t even have to talk to them about the gospel. A lot of times, if I’m in a hurry, I just give them one of these and leave it at that.” (Emphasis mine.) This is not the apostle’s approach!
In light of that contrast, I thought it would be helpful if I kicked off a semi-regular series on the ways in which Paul and the other apostles shared the gospel. The hope is that looking at these methods (or the lack of method!) might encourage us to share the gospel more freely. Today, I want to focus on Paul’s very simple and very personal approach in Acts 26:1-23.
If you have an iPhone or an iPod Touch, I strongly recommend the new ESV App. I’m a huge fan of the ESV translation (I preach from it weekly, and I use it for personal study and devotional reading), and it’s nice to have an easily-searchable, offline-accessible version on my PDA. You can find it here.
If you haven’t joined the dark side (by purchasing an Apple product), then you can find a mobile version of the ESV here. In either case, the world has been transformed by the free availability of the Bible, and it’s nice that Crossway Publishers further that by making this excellent translation available at no charge.
Grace & Peace,
In my devotional reading this morning, I was going over the stories of Isaac’s life, from Genesis 24-26. This period covers what happened to this patriarch between the death of Sarah and the marriages of Esau.
Now, going into my devotional reading, I was less than expectant. I have read Genesis dozens and dozens of times, and it was the first book I preached through as a pastor. In every case, Isaac has been the lull in the action, the dip in the road, the “why is this here?” for me. And I say that self-critically. But why is Isaac here?
I’m teaching on Isaiah 59:1-15 this Sunday as the second part of a four part series on the Gospel. Last week, we looked at Genesis 1:26-31 to discuss what it was that God created us for–I argued that he created us to glorify Him as His image bearers, in harmonious relationships to creation, to each other, and to Him. This week, we’re looking at what the problem is–why we aren’t enjoying harmony with each other and intimacy with God. I think Isaiah 59:1-2 makes it pretty clear that it’s not God’s fault.
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Grace & Peace,
Dan & Anna Julian