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For a review of this week’s study, consider viewing the following resources:

–          Read the manuscripts for the sermons entitled “The God Who Keeps His Promises” (found here http://mbcpastoringlobe.wordpress.com/2008/05/19/the-god-who-keeps-his-promises-%E2%80%93-acts-1313-41/) and “Three Responses to the Gospel” (found here http://mbcpastoringlobe.wordpress.com/2008/05/26/three-responses-to-the-gospel-%E2%80%93-acts-1342-52/.)

–          For a further study of the role of divine sovereignty and human responsibility in salvation, consider listening to the 2-part sermon series by C.J. Mahaney entitled “The Mystery of Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility.”  You can download it here http://www.sovereigngracestore.com/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=A1251-00-51.

Homework for Week # 9:

–          Review your Scripture memory verses (Luke 10:2 and I Corinthians 15:1-4.)

–          Spend some time each day going over the 4-point outline of the gospel (i.e. God, Man, Christ, and Response) and the 4-point outline of redemptive history (i.e. Creation, Fall, Redemption and Recreation) either out-loud or in writing.

–          Think about how to connect biblical events (particularly Old Testament historical events) to the gospel.  Discuss this with a fellow ChristianBegin making it a habit to connect everything you read in Scripture to the gospel.

–          Engage in at least 1 gospel conversation this week with an unbeliever (preferably a “churched” unbeliever). In this conversation, attempt to utilize biblical events or passages to ask the following questionWhat does this teach us about God?  What does this teach us about Jesus?

–          In preparation for next week’s class, read Acts 17:16-34 and think through the questions below:

  • What is the context and setting of this passage?  (You might find it helpful to look up the location on a map and/or in a Bible dictionary.)
  • What affect does the idolatry in this culture have on Paul?  What does this teach us about Paul’s motivation in evangelism?
  • Who is Paul sharing the gospel with in this passage?  (Make sure you read the entire passage before answering this…)  How does this affect his evangelism?
  • Make an outline of Paul’s presentation of the gospel in verses 22-31.  Specifically think through the following aspects of his message:
    • How does Paul start his gospel presentation?  What efforts does he make to “connect” with his hearers?  How can we do this today?
    • Paul spends a considerable amount of time describing the attributes and actions of God.  Why?  Make a list of God’s attributes and actions in this passage.  How is this relevant to our gospel presentations today?  How can we do this today?
    • What does Paul teach about humanity?  Sin and judgment?  What response does Paul call his hearers to?  How is this relevant in our evangelism today?
  • How do Paul’s hearers respond to the gospel in this passage?  (Be specific.)  What does this teach us about the responses we should expect engaging in evangelism?
  • How is this passage relevant to our evangelism today?  Spend some time this week thinking about the problem of biblical illiteracy and idolatry in our culture today.  How much or how little does the “average person” know about the Bible today?  What forms of idolatry do we encounter in our culture today?  How does this affect our evangelism?

 

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For a review of this week’s study, consider reading the sermon entitled “Two Unlikely Men and One Unlikely Salvation” on Acts 8:26-40.  You can find it here https://ramblingpastorman.wordpress.com/2009/10/20/two-unlikely-men-and-one-unlikely-salvation-%E2%80%93-a-sermon-on-acts-826-40/.

Homework for Week # 8:

–          Review your Scripture memory verses (Luke 10:2 and I Corinthians 15:1-4.)

–          Spend some time each day going over the 4-point outline of the gospel (i.e. God, Man, Christ, and Response) and the 4-point outline of redemptive history (i.e. Creation, Fall, Redemption and Recreation) either out-loud or in writing.

–          Engage in at least 1 gospel conversation this week with an unbeliever. In this conversation, attempt to ask the following questionWhat do you believe about Jesus? (i.e. Who is He?  What has He done?)

–          Engage in a conversation this week with a fellow Christian regarding how the gospel relates to human brokenness and sin.

–          In preparation for next week’s class, read Acts 13:13-52 and think through the questions below:

  • What is the setting of this passage?  (You might find it helpful to look up the location on a map and/or in a Bible dictionary.)  What has taken place prior to this?
  • What type of people is Paul sharing the gospel with here?  Why does this matter?  How does this affect his presentation of the gospel message?  (Think carefully about this…)
  • What is Paul doing in verses 16-22?  Make a list of the actions of God described by Paul in this passage.
  • What is Paul attempting to communicate in verses 23-37?  How does Paul describe Jesus in this passage?  (Be specific.)
  • What response does Paul call his hearers to in verses 38-41?
  • How do the people respond to Paul’s message in verses 42-52?
  • How do Paul and Barnabas respond to rejection?
  • How can we apply the principles seen in this passage to our evangelistic efforts? To answer this question, it might be helpful to answer the following questions:
    • What are some wrong understandings of the gospel which are common in the church today?  How does this passage inform our evangelism of those who might hold to wrong understandings of the gospel within the church?
    • How does Paul use Scripture to share the gospel in this passage?  When might this be appropriate in our evangelism?  Is this always appropriate?  Why or why not?
    • What responses can we expect when we share the gospel with others?  How should we respond to rejection in our evangelism?

 

A couple of days ago I posted some thoughts on why I think church history is important and I linked to a blog post by Rick Rose on the same topic.  Here is another post, entitled “Avoiding Chronological Snobbery” by William Boekestein over at the Reformation21 site talking about the same subject.  His conclusion is that knowing church history helps us to:

1) Appreciate the sovereignty of God.

2) Apply debated biblical teachings.

3) Defend against heresies and cults.

4) Resist being captivated  by fads (this is a big need today!!!)

5) Reevaluate common church practices.

6) Live courageous Christian lives today.

It is worth reading the whole post to see how he fleshes these out.  You can find the article here http://www.reformation21.org/articles/avoiding-chronological-snobbery.php.

I have been disturbed recently by the ignorance of so many Christians regarding church history.  This became apparent to me recently as I was talking with several professing Christians about October 31st being Reformation Day.  No one I spoke with had any idea what I was talking about.  None of them knew what Martin Luther’s 95 Theses were.  None of them knew anything regarding the impact of Luther on Protestantism today.  (Granted… I come from a Baptist tradition.  The results might have been different if I had been talking with some of my Lutheran friends.)

Church history matters!  Here are three reasons why:

1) Without some basic knowledge of church history, how can we truly understand the development of many of our most precious Christian doctrines?  Where do we get the word “Trinity”?  How did this often disputed doctrine become dogma?  Sure… we derive this blessed truth about God from Scripture… but how did it become formulated in the manner which we hold dear today?  Read church history…

2) Furthermore, it never ceases to amaze me how heresies never go away… they go “underground” for a brief period of time (some don’t even do that…) only to resurface later… perhaps under a different name… but still just as heretical.  Why reinvent the wheel when confronting these heresies when church history provides us with a lasting response from the saints who have gone before us?

3) Finally, studying church history reminds us that we have a great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us… men and women who lived for the glory of God and who laid the foundation which we often take for granted today.  We may not always agree with the actions of the saints of old… but studying their lives can be a great inspiration AND a solemn warning as we strive to live the Christian life.  (For some helpful resources in studying the lives of various Christians from history, consider reading or listening to some of John Piper’s biographies of past saints (you can find them here http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/biographies/by-title) or listen to Mike Reeves biographies of notable figures from church history (all entitled “Introducing…”)  You’ll have to scroll down the page, but you can find the audio of Mike Reeves lectures here http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/biographies/by-title.)

This rant of mine was sparked off by a blog post by Rick Rose (HT: Tim Challies) entitled “6 Reasons to Love Church History.”  I think his post summarizes succinctly why it is important to study church history.  It is not a long post and worth your time to read.  You can find it here http://www.rickandsusanna.com/2010/10/6-reasons-to-love-church-history.html.

Several people have posted this on the internet recently, but I thought it might be helpful to some of those who read this blog.  At the recent Desiring God National Conference, Francis Chan spoke regarding the importance of thinking biblically yet remaining humble.  In his message, he addressed 7 questions which we should ask ourselves before we preach or teach others.  Spend some time thinking about these before your next teaching session:

  1. Am I worried about what people think of my message or what God thinks? (Teach with fear)
  2. Do I genuinely love these people? (Teach with love)
  3. Am I accurately presenting this passage? (Teach with accuracy)
  4. Am I depending on the Holy Spirit’s power or my own cleverness? (Teach with power)
  5. Have I applied this message to my own life? (Teach with integrity)
  6. Will this message draw attention to me or to God? (Teach with humility)
  7. Do the people really need this message? (Teach with urgency)

(HT: Jonathan Parnell at http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/seven-questions-to-ask-before-you-preach-or-teach-the-bible) and Andrew Jacobson.)

By the way… you can view or download the audio or video of Francis Chan’s message (“Think Hard, Stay Humble: The Life of the Mind and the Peril of Pride”) here http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/conference-messages/think-hard-stay-humble-the-life-of-the-mind-and-the-peril-of-pride.

Homework Assignment for Week # 7 – How Do We Share the Gospel – Part 3 – (Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch – Acts 8:26-40)

For a review of this week’s study, here are some helpful resources:

–          Read “Our Lord’s Conversation with the Woman of Samaria” in John Brown’s “Discourses and Sayings of our Lord” (pages 64-77.)  You can find it online here http://books.google.com/books?id=SZl9u8v0Yi8C&pg=PA64&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=4#v=onepage&q&f=false .  This is an excellent sermon on the passage we studied today by an oft-forgotten pastor from the 19th century.  Don’t let the age of the sermon scare you away!  It is worth meditating on…

–          I would also highly recommend John Calvin’s commentary on this passage of Scripture.  You can find it online beginning here http://www.biblestudyguide.org/comment/calvin/comm_vol34/htm/x.htm .  Again… John Calvin gets a bad rap from some people today, but don’t let that keep you from reading some of his writings.  He was a careful expositor of Scripture and his commentaries are worth reading today (all of which can be found online for free!!!)  His applications are often grounded in his own time period (as are ours today…) but his thoughts on John 4:1-42 are worth reading.

–          If you have the time, you can read, view or download the audio or video of John Piper’s sermons on this passage, all of which are helpful (although he does not emphasize the evangelistic approach described in this passage.)  He has 4 sermons on this passage and you can find them here:

Homework for Week # 7:

–          Review your Scripture memory verses (Luke 10:2 and I Corinthians 15:1-4.)

–          Spend some time each day going over the 4-point outline of the gospel (i.e. God, Man, Christ, and Response) and the 4-point outline of redemptive history (i.e. Creation, Fall, Redemption and Recreation) either out-loud or in writing.

–          Engage in at least 1 gospel conversation this week with an unbeliever. In this conversation, attempt to ask the following questionWhat do you believe about Jesus? (i.e. Who is He?  What has He done?)

–          In preparation for next week’s class, read Acts 8:26-40 and think through the questions below:

  • What is the setting of this passage?  (Read the context.)
  • What was Philip doing as this text begins?  What happens to him?  What is his response?  (see verses 26-27.)  Why is this important?  How does this relate to our evangelism today?
  • Describe the Ethiopian eunuch by making a detailed list of his characteristics (i.e. What is he like?  Where is he from?  What does he do?  Where has he recently been?  What is he looking for?)
  • Why does it matter that this man is a eunuch?  (Read Deuteronomy 23:1.)  Spend some time meditating on this individual and his circumstances.  Specifically think about the consequences of his sin and the impact they had on his life.  Make a list of modern day examples of sin which have similar consequences.
  • In verses 32-33, we learn that the Ethiopian eunuch was reading from Isaiah 53.  Read Isaiah 52:13-53:12.  Who and what is this passage referring to?  (Be specific.)  What does the eunuch need in order to understand this passage? (see verse 31-35.)  How does his apply to our evangelism today?
  • What is the significance of baptism in verses 36-38?  (Note that although verse 37 does not occur in the best Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, something similar to this conversation must have taken place.)  How does baptism relate to evangelism?
  • What did Philip do after this evangelistic encounter?  (See verses 39-40.)  What does this teach us about the work of evangelism?
  • How would you summarize Philip’s approach to evangelism in this passage?  How is it similar to what we have seen in the ministry of Jesus (i.e. the rich young ruler and the Samaritan woman)?  How is it different to what we have seen in the ministry of Jesus? Be specific.
  • How can we apply the principles seen in this passage to our evangelistic efforts? To answer this question, it might be helpful to answer the following questions:
    • What can we learn from this passage about being available for evangelism?
    • What does this teach us about sharing the gospel with those broken by sin?
    • What can we learn about the use of Scripture in evangelism?
    • What is the place of Jesus in our evangelism?

 

Watch as Ligon Duncan sums up the gospel for us very succinctly…