"I don't really know much about "the gospel of the Kingdom"... can you explain how it is different from using the law in evangelism?"
The Kingdom, and the gospel of the Kingdom, seems to have been a neglected and little understood subject in the body of Christ since the times of the Early Church. Your sharing that you don't know much about it does not surprise me. I went for years in the Church and don't think I ever heard a teaching on it. At least not with the understanding I now have of it. This is tragic. But God is restoring understanding concerning the Kingdom.
It is a foundational subject. It's a vast and wonderful subject and reality. I would love to discuss it but we should probably start a new thread to do so. I think Greg also mentioned wanting to start a discussion about the Kingdom.
As to the difference between the gospel of the Kingdom and using the Law... The gospel of the Kingdom is the message of good news about the Kingdom of God and seems to go hand in hand with demonstrations of the reality of His Kingdom. Using the Law in evangelism is a method. So an easy distinction is a message versus a method. The gospel of the Kingdom seems to be accompanied by power, while using the Law doesn't necessarily demonstrate any power.
"I guess when miracles happen people see and have more faith and it counts as righteousness?"
Good observation. And, yes, I think this is often the case if it leads to faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins, but this is not always the case I suppose.
"Through His miracles, Jesus revealed His glory as the Son of God..."
Was this the purpose of His miraculous works? Did Jesus do His miracles as God, or a man in right relationship with God? You're certainly right, this is openning a whole 'nother can of worms. A big one.
I will attempt to begin discussion of this topic by laying a foundation.
Philippians 2:6-7 seems to indicate that although Jesus was certainly God, He laid aside His priviledges as God and emptied Himself of them, and took on the form of a bond-servant in the likeness of men.
Hebrews 5:7-8 seems to confirm this. It says:
"In the days of His flesh, he offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although he was a Son, He learned obedience through the things He suffered."
Jesus took on the likeness of man and took on the challenge set before Him as a man. It seems clear that, in a sense, He laid aside His divine priviledges and related to God and the world around Him as any other man would have to.
Why did Jesus have to pray? And He prayed with loud crying and tears. And it says He prayed to the One who was able to save Him from death. Why did He need someone to save Him from death? It says that Jesus "learned" obedience. If He came as God, would He have to "learn" anything?
And why does the Scripture say He was heard by God? Because He was the Son of God? No, it says He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He [i]learned[/i] obedience and was pious and because of His piety God heard Him.
Luke 2:40, 52 further reveals this...
"And the Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him... And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men."
Jesus physically grew and became strong, going through the natural growth process as a man.
Jesus "increased" in wisdom. So there was a time when Jesus had a certain amount of wisdom, and then a later time when He had more.
The grace of God was upon Him. Why would this matter if He was functioning in the world by His divine priviledges?
Jesus increased in favor with God. There was a time when Jesus had a certain amount of favor with God, and then a time later on when He had more favor with God.
Luke 3:23; 4:1-2
"And when He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thiry years of age... And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led about by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days; and when they had ended, He became hungry."
Jesus got hungry. He got tired.
He didn't being His ministry until the Holy Spirit came upon Him.
In my NASB study Bible there's a note for the phrase "by the Spirit" in verse 1. It says, "under the influence of the Spirit."
So Jesus, under the influence of the Spirit, began His ministry. Why did He wait for the Holy Spirit to descend on Him?
Do these things reveal Jesus as the Son of God or the Son of Man? Yes, He was both, but is it not clear that He emptied Himself of His divine priviledges and walked the earth "in the days of His flesh," relating to God and the world as a man?
"It seems the miracles were not to fix the current need of the world, but to prove that Jesus had the power to forgive sins."
I think that part of the reason for miracles was to prove Jesus, as the Son of Man, had the power to forgive sins. But could the main reason for miracles be that that they reveal the nature of God?
| 2005/7/13 13:38||Profile|
Here is my take.... You must repent to be saved... you must know what sin is to know what to repent of.... the law brings knowledge of sin.
| 2005/7/13 13:43||Profile|
Some good point there. It seems Romans 7 and Galatians 4 are very relevant to this discussion.
"I would not have come to know sin except through the Law."
First, I think it might be relevant to point out that this text refers to an experience of coming to the knowledge of sin [i]before[/i] Pentecost.
I wonder, could it be now said, in the days after Pentecost, "I would not have come to know sin except [i]by the Spirit[/i]"?
I guess the "better way" that I have mentioned and that I am contemplating has to do with the power of God openning the door to the unbelievers heart.
It seems that for many, seeing the demonstration of the power of God in the name of Jesus softens their heart towards Jesus and gets them in a place where they are more easily "harvestable." Instead of coming to Jesus for "fire insurance," they come because they realize that He is real. Then, for the rest of their lives, they have a stable foundation of their faith as it rests on the power of God and not on persuasive words of man. (see 1 Cor. 2:5)
It's been said, "If someone can argue you into it, someone can argue you out of it." But when the power of God and the reality of His Kingdom is demonstrated in the name of Jesus, a solid conviction is established in the persons core- that God is real- and it starts them off on the right foot. So that they don't just "become a Christian" and start going to church and get all into the religious routines but have no intimacy with the living God.
Now they have a reference point, right from the start, to go from. Then they would probably be less likely to fall into the trap of false religion, which I understand as basically form without power (2 Tim. 3:5).
When Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, besides the fact that supernatural phenomena had just occured, Jesus had also just recently been raised from the dead and there were many living witnesses to confirm it. There was a fresh revelation of the reality and power of God in the peoples hearts. Could this have been a big part of the reason why they were so quickly and, if you will, easily converted?
And in looking at the account in Acts 2, it wasn't until after they were "pierced to the heart" and asked "what should we do?" that Peter told them to repent. But what was it that made them so soft towards the gospel? Was it not fresh demonstrations of the power and reality of God?
How much easier would things go for us if we had more of the power of God in our ministries?
As for Galatians 3:24...
I am not fully confident in my understanding of it, but for the most part I think I might understand it differently than Comfort.
My NASB reads like this:
"Therefore the Law [i]has become[/i] our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith."
Perhaps someone who knows Greek better can explain if the verse is saying the Law "is" or "has become" our tutor. Which one is more accurate?
Anyway, I think that looking at this verse in context reveals some important things. I think a reading of all of chapter 3 will help us understand this verse.
It seems that Paul lays out what he is going to be talking about in verse 2 in which he says,
"This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?"
This seems to set the stage for the rest of what Paul is going to talk about in the chapter. It seems that the Galatians were falling back into the old understanding of the works of the Law. But Paul is going to correct them and teach them about the primary importance of faith. It seems he is laying again the foundation of repentence from dead works and faith towards God.
He goes on to contrast righteousness by the Law with righteouness by faith. Throughout verses 5-29 Paul goes over the people of God's history as it relates to the Law verses faith. He seems to be explaining dispensations and seasons in God's relationship towards man.
The original way to righteousness, which Abraham found, was by faith. But, Paul explains, the Law came 430 years later. And why did it come?
"Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, [b]until[/b] the seed should come to whom the promise had been made."
And verse 16 reveals that the seed here is Christ.
So when Christ came, it seems clear that relating to God through the Law became outdated, if you will. It seems that relating to God through the Law was just a temporary concession.
When Paul says the Law was just a tutor (literally "child-conductor") to lead [i]us[/i] to Christ, it seems clear that he is referring to the history of the people of God. He is identifying himself and the Galatians with the people of God throughout history. And he's saying that the Law took us (the people of God) along [b]until[/b] Christ.
Now we are to relate to God by faith, the way it was originally set up. The better way.
| 2005/7/13 14:47||Profile|
I read the topic of this thread and got excited. I thought of listing all the NT examples that I could think of where John Baptist, Jesus, Stephen, Peter, Paul, etc used the Law. But decided not do.
Rather I just wanted to say that I know that before I got saved, I was slain by my conscience. I was so heavily convicted of my own personal sins and the tormenting place called hell became a personal punishment which I dreaded and feared. Therefore, because my sin and the punishment were personal, Christ became personal as well. And Christ crucified became my personal Saviour of my sin.
any other personal testimonies?
| 2005/7/13 14:52|
That's awesome. Great testimony. I'm curious- how did you become slain in your conscience? Was it by the preaching of the Law?
| 2005/7/13 14:56||Profile|
I knew the Law. Though the preacher who God greatly used in my conversion did not go through the Ten Commandments, my knowledge of the Law and my violations of it, plus the personal convicting of the Holy Spirit through the preaching, prepared the soil of my hard heart for the good news of God's grace shown at the cross.
| 2005/7/13 14:59|
Yeah, I suppose most people who grow up here in America know the Law, at least to some degree. It seems to me that right and wrong tends to be understood by most. From your experience, do you agree?
| 2005/7/13 15:03||Profile|
I suppose most people who grow up here in America know the Law, at least to some degree. It seems to me that right and wrong tends to be understood by most. From your experience, do you agree?
For the older generation that may be true. The older generation such as those who rebelled in the 60's knew right from wrong, and many of their parents were Christians. They had the Ten Commandments in their courts, they had prayer and the bible in public school, etc. They were an "immoral" generation.
But my generation seems to be primarily an "amoral" generation. They don't grow up in a godly family, they aren't taught the bible in school, the Ten Commmandments are being hidden from their eyes, etc.
Within one week I had tried to witness to two young people from Connecticut on two seperate occasions. One kid was 10 years old, and the other was 15. When I asked them, on seperate occassions, if they thought they had kept the Ten Commandments they responded with "The what?". I said "The Ten Commandments". They said "What are those?". "It's God's Law. You've never heard of the Ten Commandments." And they said "No. Never."
See they aren't being taught about God's Law by their parents, they aren't being taught God's Law by their schools, and they aren't being taught God' Law by the Church. So how in the world is my generation going to know????
We've assumed for far too long that "everybody knows that they are sinners". That is not true of this "amoral" generation. The truth is they don't believe or know that they are sinners. Many consider themselves to be decent, good, kind hearted people. It's time that we start using the Ten Commandments to bring awareness and conviction of sin to this lawless generation.
| 2005/7/13 15:13|
College Station, TX
It is clear from Romans 1 that the Lord has written his law upon the hearts of man, so that their conscience bears witness against them and no man has excuse on the day of judgment.
I like your statements stressing the need for the Holy Spirit, His power, His conviction, His drawing people to the father. Amen! Indeed, it is only by Him that a man "cometh unto the Father." Therefore, His work should permeate every task of evangelism in Jesus' name.
And what is that work? "To convict the world of sin, righteousness, and the coming judgment." If indeed "by the Spirit, I have the knowledge of sin" as you have presented, then by the Spirit we would have the knowledge of sin by his working of conviction of that sin, the need for righteousness, and the need to prepare for the coming judgment.
The coming judgment is against those who "obeyed not the gospel", remaining in their sins, and refusing to repent of them before a Holy God.
As Jesse testified - like Paul - when he realized his sin in light of God's holiness (both revelations of one and the same Holy Spirit)his conscience (placed there by God) cut him to the heart and he turned to the savior (through the Spirit)
My point is that ultimately, whether its by the law or the Spirit, before or after Pentecost, the essential necessity for someone to repent is that they know of their sin, and know of their Savior.
The Spirit can reveal personal sin to someone in their life, that doesnt necessarily fit a particular commandment to the letter, but in some means breaks one or many.
The Spirit can break down walls of pride by directly quoting Exodus 20 to someone.
The Spirit can penetrate someone with the knowledge of their state before God in a dream or vision, without someone even speaking to them!
The Spirit can do many things, but ultimately his goal to bring them to Christ is to reveal to them:
1) Their sin (which means "transgression of the law")
2) God's righteousness in Christ
3) The day of Judgment is coming
And may it be for many in this very hour.
| 2005/7/13 15:17||Profile|
Thanks for that insight.
Perhaps you are right.
This is something I have been thinking about but it's not like you can be sure of it from a book. I guess you find out through personal experience, as you are doing.
I wonder how much of this generation has knowledge of the Law, right and wrong, and how much doesn't? Would you think maybe 50/50? Or even worse than that?
| 2005/7/13 15:20||Profile|