May 24, 2009 Contexts for Christian Apologetics

Contexts for Christian Apologetics

What changed? The society in which I grew up is not the same society of today. Business no longer stops at noon on Wednesday so people can prepare for church that evening. In fact, businesses even now grub for every dollar on Sundays. Schools used to teach and measure reading, writing, and arithmetic. Now, more students must take remedial courses during their freshman year in college because their learning shifted in elementary and secondary education to tolerance and good feelings.

What will the world be like when my grand children are grown?

What has caused this change anyway?

Can it be reversed?

Where will it end?

People have been deceived out of some fundamentals of life: shame, reason, and meaning.

  • Listen to the Apostle Paul’s description of life in our day from 2 Timothy 3.1-9. What loss of shame, reason, and meaning do you identify?
  • Was Paul writing about his observations of society? Or, was he warning Timothy of things to come?
  • We can see these throughout history, illustrated in the following, beginning with Adam and Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3.5 shows clearly the steps of letting go of God’s hand in life.
    • ‘Your eyes will be opened’ resulted in their recognition of nudity (verse 7).
    • This led them know ‘good and evil’. Thus, they learned to question God’s pronouncements. Jeremiah 13.10 says such disdain leads to the pursuit of evil.
    • This led their children to tell God, ‘I can do it myself!’ Examine the consequences of one illustration; Joshua 9.14-15 resulted in 2 Samuel 21.1-14.
    • Without a compass, children interpret God’s word to rationalize their behavior. Notice how Eve added, in verse 3, to God’s instruction in Genesis 2.17. Examine Jeremiah 2.11-13, 17, 19; Jeremiah 4.18; and Isaiah 47.10.
    • Rationalizing behavior led the children to conclude that God is a liar because He does not agree with me. Eve and Adam believed the serpent’s lie to ‘be like God’ (Genesis 3.5).
    • Now, look at the mess we are in! No shame; no reason; no meaning!
  • You can read the same in Moses’ warning to the Hebrews in Deuteronomy 8.7-17, in Absalom’s rebellion against David in 2 Samuel 15.1-6, in Solomon’s lust for sex in 1 Kings 11.1-11, in the Pharisees’ lust for power in John 11.45-48, and in Paul’s encounter with seekers in Athens, Greece, in Acts 17.16-21.

So, how have people lost shame, reason, and meaning? By pursuing the philosophies and traditions of men, which are founded upon the basic principles of the world (Colossians 2.8). The present world-system is organized upon the principles of force, greed, selfishness, ambition, and sinful pleasure (Scofield’s note to Revelation 20.10). In coming weeks, we will consider secularization, pluralization, and privatization as environments against Christianity.

How can we change the world for the better? Jesus! Colossians 2.9-10

May 10, 2009 Impact Of The Resurrection (cont’d)

Impact of the Resurrection

 

What impact did Easter have on your week?  How did it change your perspectives of life and activities?  What changes did Jesus’ death for your sin and His resurrection make in the environment where you were?  Let’s look at how these events changed the disciples who followed Jesus on Earth and before Pentecost.

 

God’s miraculous sign in the resurrection. (See complete lesson notes at www.sozoclass.com.)

 

The disciples became more confident after Jesus’ resurrection.

  • They realized that every other word from God was true, for He had resurrected Jesus.
  • They realized that their lives had been forever changed and so must their lifestyles.
  • They realized that they would have Jesus’ power wherever they went.

 

  • They realized that they would be changing people from the inside out.
    • People follow leaders; for example, Oprah and Buffett and Choptra.  These present popular ideas that answer questions to guide thinking.  Consider these cautions, however: Matthew 15.11, Jeremiah 8.9 and Jeremiah 13.10, Hosea 4.6, and Romans 6.16.  Jesus contrasted truth from lie in Matthew 7.13-14 and John 14.6.
    • Our job is ‘search and rescue’.  Jesus called Paul to retrieve the deceived from satan’s kingdom (Acts 26.16-18 and Ephesians 4.17-24 and Colossians 2.8-9).  These instructions are for us, too.
    • Note what Jesus said in Matthew 28.19-20.  Making disciples, essentially, is ‘making’ people into the image of Christ, as Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 3.18.  A disciple follows a discipline established by the teacher or master, like is described in Matthew 10.7-8. Notice that the challenge is to make disciples of ‘all the nations’, as Jesus repeated in Acts 1.8.  Finally, God would achieve His goal of Exodus 19.6.  Paul restated this in 2 Corinthians 5.20-21.
    • The Holy Spirit crosses our paths with those He is seeking (Isaiah 55.5).  He did this dramatically with Peter and John in Acts 3.1-26.  Faith in the name ‘Jesus’ had healed the paralytic.  The sight of him now walking drew the curious with questions.  Peter answered as Jesus had instructed in Matthew 10.7-8.  See Acts 4.12 also.
    • Signs and wonders convince people of the superiority of Jesus over the demons they have followed. See Acts 2.43 and 1 Corinthians 2.4-5. 
    • Again, in Matthew 28.19, Jesus said to baptize the disciples ‘into’ the ‘name’ of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  One ‘name’ – Jesus (John 17.6, 11-12) – God’s name!  ‘Into’ is best described by Jesus in John 17.20-23; Jesus ‘in’ God and us ‘in’ Jesus; us in God and God in us!  (Light through us into the dark world.) 
    • Baptize is an interesting word, with a deeper meaning than the traditions of most Christian denominations.  ‘Baptizing’ is baptizo, not bapto (Greek); that is, soaking thoroughly, not just washing the outside.  To illustrate, you wash a cucumber to get the dirt off; it becomes a pickle only by being left in vinegar until permeated.  Acts 19.1-7 explains this by illustration. 
    • People would be ‘soaked’ ‘into’ the ‘name’ by being taught to ‘observe to do’ everything Jesus had taught the disciples to do and teach.  Read all of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ words and deeds to understand what we are to teach by word and deed.  By such, the ‘sheep’ Jesus assigns to us are fed, do not fear, are not dismayed, and will not lack (Jeremiah 23.4).  Like us, they grow from being sheep to becoming shepherds of new sheep.  All of this by imitating Jesus; 2 Corinthians 3.16.
    • The inward change is seen in outward manifestations; see Acts 3.16 and Acts 4.12 and Acts 10.38.  Each generation of new Christians, thus, confirms the connection of Exodus 34.10 to John 15.24 to John 17.18.  And, God continues to be magnified!  See Colossians 3.16-17 and Ephesians 3.20-21.

 

Questions for contemplation and discussion:

How can I let Jesus live through me?  See John 5.19-20 and Colossians 2.6-10.

May 3, 2009 Impact Of The Resurrection (cont’d)

Impact of the Resurrection

What impact did Easter have on your week?

How did it change your perspectives of life and activities?

What changes did Jesus’ death for your sin and His resurrection make in the environment where you were?

Let’s look at how these events changed the disciples who followed Jesus on Earth and before Pentecost.

 

God’s miraculous sign in the resurrection

Exodus 34.10     John 15.24     Acts 2.22

Matthew 10.7-8  John 17.18     Acts 26.16-18

Acts 2.32-36       Acts 17.30-31

 

The disciples became more confident after Jesus’ resurrection.

They realized that every other word from God was true, for He had resurrected Jesus;

Luke 24.44-53        John 14.26

 

They realized that their lives had been forever changed and so must their lifestyles;

John 20.30–John 21.25    Mark 1.16-18    John 21.22

2Corinthians 15.7                1Corinthians 13.11              Jeremiah 29.11

 

They realized that they would have Jesus’ power wherever they went;

Matthew 28.18, 20      Mark 16.20            1 Corinthians 2.4-5

Jeremiah 45.5          Acts 1.8                     Mark 16.17-18, 20

Acts 10.38                 Matthew 10.7-8       Luke 10.17

Luke 4.17-21            Isaiah 16.1-3            Ephesians 2.10

John 17.18                John 5.19-20 Acts 2.22

Philippians 2.11       1Corinthians 2.4-5

 

They realized that they would be changing people from the inside out;

Matthew 28.18-20      Acts 4.12          Acts 10.38

Mark 16.17-18          Exodus 34.10    John 15.24

2Corinthians 3.18        Exodus 19.6          2Corinthians 5.20

John 17.6, 11-12, 20-23                             Jeremiah 23.4

Acts 3.16                   Acts 4.12                   Acts 10.38

Ephesians 3.21         Colossians 3.16-17

Questions for contemplation and discussion:

Do I realize each of these things, as the disciples of Jesus did?

How can my faith be strengthened by the resurrection? 

Ephesians 1.19-21               Ephesians 3.20-21

 

How can I keep from charging off in my strength or following someone else?

Isaiah 26.3, 12                  Isaiah 64.4

 

What ‘signs’ accompany my words?

Colossians 3.16-17, 23-24      Jeremiah 32.27

 

How can I let Jesus live through me? 

Acts 2.22              John 5.19-20